Water is an essential we cannot live without.
And yet, many Californians lack access to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water. People of color–especially immigrant farmworkers–are affected disproportionately, as documented a 2019 New York Times article. Nearly 1 million Californians are advised not to drink tap water because local water authorities are out of compliance with state and federal standards.
In a state where drought is an annual occurrence, water is a precious gift. Our stewardship of this gift matters. As ELCA World Hunger states, clean water is one of the most powerful ways to make change in the world.
As Lutherans, we care for our neighbor by looking out for their needs and well-being. Water is a central part of Lutheran worship in the sacrament of baptism; it is how we way welcome new people into our communities. What if the water we used for baptism was dirty? Or had traces of lead or pesticides in it? What if we had to go to the gas station in town every few days to buy bottled water for ourselves and our families? We believe everyone should have access to safe water, and at an affordable cost.
In 2019, the legislature passed a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund that provides more than $1.4 billion over the next decade to pay for safe drinking water projects, including emergency water supplies, consolidation of unsustainable small water systems and operation and maintenance cost systems in low-income communities in every part of our state.
Implementation of this fund will continue to require the attention of lawmakers, public officials, advocates, and communities from around the state.
Where does your water come from?
Check out this interactive tool.