Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience
The Water Quality Association and the Pacific Water Quality Association (PWQA) support the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience program (SAFER) to provide solutions for water treatment systems in California, especially those serving disadvantaged communities.
In 2019, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 200, which requires the annual transfer of 5 percent of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) (up to $130 million) into a special fund until June 30, 2030, for a total of $1.3 billion. This ten-year commitment by the State of California will provide vulnerable Californian communities access to safe and affordable drinking water. The California State Water Resources Control Board has approved the 2020-21 Fund Expenditure Plan that prioritizes up to $130 million for numerous projects.
These funds will address community and school water systems that are out of compliance with health standards, assist disadvantaged communities throughout the state that lack access to safe drinking water, tackle contaminated private wells and state small water systems, and accelerate consolidations for water systems.
The Plan is based on a drinking water needs assessment and will document past and planned expenditures and prioritize projects for funding. The fund will help develop and implement sustainable solutions for small systems with drinking water standards violations.
Solutions may include consolidation with larger water systems, operations and maintenance costs, building local technical and managerial capacity, providing interim replacement water, and hiring administrators to run the small systems. The plan also includes Point-of-Use and Point-of-Entry (POU/POE) water treatment solutions when appropriate.