Clean Water For 2,600 seeks to enable sustainable safe drinking water for 2,600 children, students and families in 6-7 San Joaquin Valley communities with high levels of nitrate and arsenic groundwater contamination.
One million people in California lack reliable access to clean water. Contaminated drinking water causes gastrointestinal illnesses, nervous or reproductive system impacts, and chronic diseases such as cancer.
3 out of 4 Californians with nitrate-contaminated drinking water live in the San Joaquin Valley. In 2007, nearly 300,000 people in the San Joaquin Valley drank water that violated the arsenic health standard.
Most of this is attributable to the contamination of the region’s groundwater by decades of intensive agricultural operations. Pesticides and fertilizers (primarily nitrates) from farms and mega-dairies contaminate groundwater basins, upon which 90% of communities in the San Joaquin Valley rely for drinking water. Most of the communities without safe drinking water are also the most politically underrepresented communities, left out of local, regional and state water planning and funding processes.
One in 10 people living in California's agricultural areas is at risk of exposure to harmful levels of nitrate contamination in their drinking water, according to a report released on March 13, 2012 by the University of California, Davis.
The report concluded that directly removing nitrate from groundwater basins is extremely costly and not technically feasible. It recommends drinking water supply actions, such as water treatment and alternative water supplies, as the most cost-effective way forward. This conclusion supports our program, i.e. provide alternative water filtration solutions with sustainable support and financing, so that children, families and communities stay healthy NOW, while longer-term initiatives tackle the agricultural and political causes of the San Joaquin Valley water crisis.
While there has been a lot of progress helping to develop long-term solutions for communities, there is very little funding for interim solutions necessary to keep families safe in the years that it takes to develop and implement long-term solutions. This project would focus on piloting different models of interim solutions and making them more accessible and available to communities.
San Joaquin Valley, California’s “bread basket” is the seat of our Clean Water for 2,600 Program. 6-7 communities in Kern, Tulare and Fresno Counties will be selected as representative of the broader Valley population. The hope is that, as a result, we can leverage the learning of this program and scale it across the entire Valley.
The communities to be empowered by this program will be selected based on 1) how severe their shortage of safe drinking water is; 2) the number of young children living in the community; and 3) the location of daycare centers and schools that could make clean water available for many.
The people we serve live in housing not connected to county water infrastructure. They, therefore, depend on wells that draw groundwater that has been polluted by agricultural pesticides, animal fecal matter and naturally occurring arsenic.
These communities are largely low-income agricultural and migrant workers. 50-60% of the population is of Hispanic origin, but the percentage in the selected communities will be higher. The per capita income in the 3 counties is $14,000-$16,000 and 21-24% live under the poverty line. 30+% of the population is under 18 years old.
Locationcommunities in Tulare, Fresno, Kings and Kern Counties, California, United States
Primary Focus: Drinking Water - Schools
Secondary Focus: Drinking Water - Community
People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 2,600
Approximately 100 low-income, primarily Latino farmworker families, and approximately 4 day care and 4 public school facilities serving children of predominately Latino farmworker families.
School Children Getting Water: 2,200
Approximately 4 day care and 4 public school facilities serving children of predominately Latino farmworker families.
People Getting Sanitation: 0
People Getting Other Benefits:
Application Type: Program Funding
Start Date: 2012-10-01
Completion Date: 2013-09-30
Clean Water For 2,600 combines cost-efficient water filtration systems with a community engagement program to ensure sustainability.
Extensive surveying will determine the program communities. We will pilot two solutions:
1) Under-the-sink reverse osmosis units for households with nitrate or arsenic contamination.
2) High-volume reverse osmosis vending filtration systems for daycare centers and schools with nitrate or arsenic contamination.
The Community Water Center and community representatives will develop an education, installation training and monitoring program to ensure the clean water system delivered is sustainable and economic to operate.
CWC will work with the selected communities to develop the specific interim solutions program for their community in order to ensure they are prepared to take full advantage of the water filtration systems and organized to manage and maintain them. The communities will be involved in all phases of the program to develop and support long-term commitment and leadership within the community itself. CWC plans to start in communities where we have well-established community organization and capacity-building programs to lead the first few programs.
Specifically, we plan to start with the installation of 101 household-based and four school-based community water filters. By combining household and school-based water filters, we will enable the greatest number of people to gain access to safe drinking water. The project also includes money for water testing both to ensure the appropriate filters are selected to address current water quality needs, as well as to test the water post-filtration to ensure the devices are performing.
We will start with two communities with different models of solutions as pilots (one school-based and and one in-homes under the sink). Then we will conduct evaluations of those efforts and do project development in the remaining areas.
Each community is different and so each project will have to develop a customized solution for ownership and on-going monitoring and maintenance as part of the community's project development and implementation plan. However, in each community the filtration unit will be owned and operated either by the school or day care facility itself, the local public water system, individual households, or a community -based group of residents. These issues are the most important and time consuming in terms of community outreach and project development and implementation and will be a focus of the evaluation for each project, and particularly for the pilots.
This project is supported by the many local government entities in the region, but fills a gap in existing funding sources. Government funding sources are available for long-term more permanent solutions but require significant planning time and costs to implement. In the meantime, communities without safe water have to wait years to access safe drinking water. This project seeks to provide an interim solution for the years that they community is working through existing government systems to fund community-wide more permanent drinking water solutions.
Evaluation of the project is vital to ensuring that the interim solution models are accomplishing their goals and informing how they can be replicated or adjusted in many more communities. Specifically, we will conduct a survey before and after the project, analyze and write up an evaluation based on surveys and results, and develop case studies and reports for each community to help with replication in other areas.
1) Installation of appropriate water filter technology.
2) Achievement of water quality that meets all Safe Drinking Water Act requirements for all regulated contaminants, and particularly elimination of exceedences of water quality standards for nitrate and arsenic.
3) Decreased exposure to and consumption of nitrate or arsenic contaminated water for all 2600 students, children and families.
4) Increased savings of at least 25% by schools, daycares, and families on potable water costs.
5) Increased consumption of safe water by students, children and families.
6) Increased focus and investment in safe drinking water access in schools and low-income communities by funding, research, and policy-making entities.
Outreach Training and Education: $6,955
Community Project Development Planning & Support: $5,100
Water Testing: $5,000
Water Filtration Systems & Installation:$62,520
Project Evaluation & Documentation: $25,398
Indirect Project Costs: $10,227
Co Funding Amount:
Community Contribution Amount: $15,200
Local community for under-the-sink filtration systems for one community.