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California’s Precedent-Setting Legislation Recognizing Human Right to Water in Action

Christopher Guillen poses for a portrait head shot at the Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck office on Feb. 1, 2017 in Century City, Calif.

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Author: Christopher Guillen

Editor: Bradley Herrema

 

On Feb. 14, 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) announced the launch of the “Human Right to Water Portal.” The portal is a website that posts information on public water systems’ compliance with drinking water standards and is the result of the State Board’s efforts to ensure access to “safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption.” The portal follows 2012 California legislation that declared that every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes (Water Code § 106.3) and a 2016 State Board resolution that adopted this right and directed its implementation in the State Board’s programs and activities (State Board Resolution No. 2016-0010). The portal includes a search function that enables the public to access data, which is updated monthly, on more than 3,000 public water systems’ compliance with drinking water standards. The portal also posts separate lists of public water systems that have not complied or have exceeded drinking water standards, including a list of public water systems that are out of compliance with the hexavalent chromium (Chromium 6) standard. The portal indicates that mapped data regarding “accessibility” and “affordability” will be coming in 2017 and 2018, respectively. While the impact of the affordability and accessibility information on water purveyors is less clear, we expect the portal to quickly ramp up pressure on noncompliance and water quality issues.

This document is intended to provide you with general information regarding the State Water Resources Control Board’s Human Right to Water Portal. The contents of this document are not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have any questions about the contents of this document or if you need legal advice as to an issue, please contact the attorney listed or your regular Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP attorney. This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions.

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