It is amazing to with all the bad news coming out of California about the water crisis that there is another problem even more extreme for some of its residents.
Many are understandably worried about the topic of water in California right now, but all that means to some residents right now in terms of real-life implications is whether or not they can water their lawns and keep their yards lush and green. For other residents it is much graver. More than one million Californians don’t have access to clean water. Irregardless of the drought, many residents can’t drink water from the tap and can’t even use it for cooking because high levels of arsenic — known to cause cancer — become even more concentrated when water is boiled.
“They worry about little things,” said Salvador Partida, president of the Committee for a Better Arvin, of the rest of the state. “We’re worried about not being able to drink the water.”
The small rural towns of Anvin and Lamont are among those most affected. Their populations are poor and have a predominantly Hispanic population. Many residents are forced to spend up to 10 percent of their household income on bottled water. “For low-income families, buying clean water is a big burden,” said Gerardo Tinaco, an Arvin native who works for the Community Water Center. “They pay for their water bill and then they pay for 5-gallon jugs.”
Luckily, the Agua4All campaign has stepped up and its mission is to bring potable water to poor communities. In Lamont Park, three green fountains have been installed. Residents can drink from them and fill water bottles to take home.
The plan is to place Agua4All stations in all parts of the state that need them.
When the Human Right to Water Bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012, California became the first state to legally recognize that every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking and sanitary purposes.