AP File Photo
AP File Photo

Recently, the State Water Resources Control Board shared its blueprint for supplying safe drinking water to all state residents with the delivery of the Safe Drinking Water Plan for California to the State Legislature.

The Safe Drinking Water Plan for California focuses on how the State Water Board proposes to improve access to reliable and healthy drinking water for communities throughout the state. The report focuses on the nearly 8,000 public water systems that are under the purview of the Division of Drinking Water. This report does not address private wells and facilities that are not public water systems.

At any given time, 98 percent of the State’s inhabitants served by public water systems receive drinking water that meets federal and state drinking water standards. The remaining 2 percent are served by much smaller public systems that struggle to provide safe and affordable drinking water due to a litany of obstacles, including lack of technical, managerial and financial resources.

The report includes a five-action plan to effectively support and provide resources to the water systems that serve the 2 percent of consumers who do not receive safe drinking water.

“With a fourth year of record-breaking drought upon us, more than ever we need to make sure that our supplies of drinking water are protected and reliable,” said Cindy Forbes, deputy director of the Division of Drinking Water.

“While many of the state’s population enjoy the benefits of safe and clean water, there are many communities that do not – and unfortunately, many more are finding themselves in tough situations due to the drought. We want to reverse this trend. This plan serves as a roadmap to bring safe and sustainable water supplies to all Californians,” she said.

The Safe Drinking Water Plan identifies the improvements needed to bring the smaller systems into compliance with a secure and reliable supply. Some of the key areas addressed in the report include:

  • accessing water in a drought
  • providing safe drinking water for disadvantage communities
  • increasing and sustaining capacity development of systems
  • identifying shared solutions to supplying safe drinking water, including the consolidation of systems
  • developing cheaper and effective treatment and analytical methods
  • building better emergency preparedness and response protocols for small systems

The draft report was publicly released on Oct. 6, 2014, and several workshops were held statewide to field concerns and questions from water systems and the public.

The report was then presented to the State Water Board and finally to the State Legislature. Many of the recommendations within the report have already been, or are in the process, of being implemented, with some recommendations requiring legislative action.


View the Safe Drinking Water Plan for California for more information, by visiting Drought.CA.Gov.