Welcome to Clean Water Action, California!

Some of our beach cleanup volunteers at work

Clean Water Action has offices all over the country, and that’s part of what makes us strong. Each of our offices is working hard to support our national mission to resist President Donald Trump’s polluting, dirty water agenda. 

Here in California, we’re taking the lead for clean water by focusing on protecting the health of our most vulnerable residents, first: The leading factor in living next to a source of dirty water is a person’s race, and when combined with income inequality, you’ll find California to be home to some of the nation’s starkest divides between its most fortunate residents, and its least.

Here’s what we’re working on for clean water, right now, to protect the health of all Californians…

Funding safe drinking water for everyone: After over a  decade of work by Clean Water Action and allies, 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.  We will work to make sure that the implementation of the Fund results in safe and affordable drinking water solutions for the over one million Californians who lack access to safe drinking water.

Fighting ruthless profiteering by the oil and gas industry: We’re running community organizing efforts in Kern County to combat the negative, years-long impacts of ruthless profiteering by the oil and gas industry down there. We’re also backing a host of regulatory work to ensure that residents are kept safe, including new legislation to force the industry to be more transparent. Read more on our oil and gas page.

Keeping toxics out of our food and water: In 2017, after years of work, we finally got regulators to pass a limit on the cancer-causing chemical, TCP. We’re working to protect the interests of people fishing for food in the Bay, and to keep pharmaceuticals and HexChrome out of the water. Click here for more about our work for safer chemicals for California. As a result of our advocacy, the San Francisco Bay Water Quality Control Board will start collecting data on fishing practices in the Bay in order to designate subsistence fishing and tribal cultural uses  as beneficial uses of the bay. This designation means that bay cleanup plans will ultimately protect subsistence fishers, who fish in San Francisco Bay out of economic need or cultural tradition.

Sustaining groundwater for communities: Groundwater is a big part of California’s water supply, especially in drought years, when it makes up nearly 2/3 of the water we use.  That’s why, in 2014, we worked to pass the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the first law of its kind in the country, which requires the creation of local agencies and the involvement of the community in decisions about how their groundwater is managed. This isn’t just about those who have been over-pumping California’s groundwater for years, but every basin that we rely on for water in wet years and dry. You can read find out more about this work on our CaGroundwater.org microsite.

Fighting plastic and waste pollution by ReThinking Disposable: The average small business saves $4,000 in packaging costs and reduces 2,000lbs in waste by going through our ReThink Disposable program. We’ve partnered with small businesses, local governments, and major institutions across California.  We transitioned 80 of the 300 Alameda food businesses to reusables. Given our data from the 21 Alameda businesses who tracked packaging reduction metrics, we project that the “Unpackaging Alameda” Project will eliminate 6,199,840 pieces of single use food ware annually, preventing 32.34 tons of waste, and collectively saving businesses $139,231 a year. Find out more about our ReThink Disposable campaign here.

Empowering a new generation of environmental justice leaders: In East Oakland, Clean Water Action’s East Bay organizer Sheila Islam helps Madison Park High School students, who are directly impacted by environmental injustice, become more engaged in local environmental action and politics.  In 2018, Sheila co-taught a class in which students learned about issues ranging from gentrification to environmental racism and participated in a creek restoration project for a nearby creek.

Knocking on doors, and pounding the phones: Clean Water Action’s California office is home to a proud canvass operation. Every day we knock on doors and phone our members to ensure support for our work.

There are plenty of ways to stay updated: Follow us on social media for regular updates and chances to take action, on our California Facebook page and our California Twitter Page. Thanks so much for your interest in Clean Water Action's work in California!

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