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State Water Resources Control Board to form the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Advisory Group






State Water Resources Control Board to form the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Advisory Group



Posted on December 19, 2019


Congratulations to the 19 members selected by the State Water Resources Control Board to form the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund advisory group. The advisory group was formed to help identify needs and designate spending priorities for the recently created Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. Of the 19 members, seven members were selected from communities in the Central Valley that have faced or are facing water challenges who will provide insight into the needs of communities. Members include community partners from Lanare, Fuller Acres, and Tooleville as well as Jessi Snyder representing Self-Help Enterprises.

In 2019, Self-Help Enterprises implemented the first of its kind Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute, which aimed to increase the capacity of rural community leaders to participate in regional and state water management programs. Participants learned the importance of becoming a voice for the often over-looked rural communities in the central valley at a larger scale. Many participants were already local leaders, and a few were already participating in regional water management programs like the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and the Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program. At the conclusion of the Leadership Institute, participants were encouraged and supported to apply to serve on boards or advisory committees at the regional or State level.

With the passage of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund (SADWF), it was announced that a new advisory group would be formed to provide guidance to the State on how the fund should be dispersed and the priorities for the fund. The advisory group was to be made up of various stakeholders, including representatives of small water systems and disadvantaged communities. Applications for the advisory group were made available in early November, and the Leadership Institute alumni were encouraged to apply. Selected members were notified the second week of December.

Two Leadership Institute alumni, Everett McGhee and Isabel Solorio, have been selected to serve on the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund advisory group. Everett comes from the community of Fuller Acres in Kern County, where he is the president of the Fuller Acres Mutual Water Company. With aging infrastructure and levels of 1,2,3-TCP above the State regulated limit, Everett has been working with SHE for a few years to find funding for the necessary improvements needed for the community’s water system as well as to settle a lawsuit over the 1,2,3-TCP contamination. This first-hand experience will provide valuable insight into how the Fund can help communities struggling to bring their water systems up to date and into compliance with all State regulations.

Isabel has been a long-time safe drinking water advocate for her community of Lanare, where she serves as the secretary of the Lanare Community Services District and president of the United Lanare community group. The community of Lanare is well known for its failed arsenic treatment plant that was installed in the community in the mid-2000s and shut down within six months, leaving the community with nearly $100,000 in debt. Since that time, Isabel has advocated for clean water in her community, especially after management of the system was turned to a court appointed receiver. Earlier this year, two new water wells were put online to supply safe drinking water for the community for the first time in over ten years. Outside of her community work, Isabel also participates in various capacity building workshops and trainings, including the 2016 and 2019 Leadership Institutes. With her appointment to the advisory group, Isabel will continue to advocate for safe drinking water in all communities as well as for capacity building programs for community leaders.

In addition to the appointed advisory group members, the other Leadership Institute alumni want to be involved informally and will be meeting prior to SADWF advisory group meetings to discuss agenda items and give their community perspectives. SHE staff will continue to work with the group of alumni throughout the next year to support their participation in regional and State water management as well as collaborative projects that the group will be planning for the next year.

For information about next year’s Leadership Institute or capacity building opportunities, please contact Eva Dominguez at EvaD@SelfHelpEnterprises.org or 559-802-1634.