Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Water news from California

In Davis, Keeping Water Under Local Control
Two multi-million dollar projects to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant and build a pipeline from the Sacramento River to Davis are in the works. Local residents, including AfD members, have committed to ensure that despite the city’s budget crisis, these projects remain public and under local control. They're following the lead of Akron, OH and, most recently, Milwaukee, WI, where residents fought back long-term private lease agreements. (You can read about Akron here; scroll to the last item on page 2.

In Milwaukee, the Keep Public Our Water (KPOW) Coalition wants the Milwaukee Common Council to pass a resolution to permanently suspend the proposal to lease the city’s water system. Faced with budget pressures, the city had been considering leasing its water utility to a private corporation for 75-99 years in return for a one-time payment of up to $550 to $600 million with a hoped-for $30 million per year return to the city’s budget. The current financial melt-down means these deals and giving up local control and oversight to risky and undemocratic.

Human Right to Water Bill Moves Through the Legislature
AB 124, the Human Right to Water Act of 2009 was voted out of the Assembly on May 28 with 54 ayes and 25 nays; four Republicans voted yes. The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, chaired by longtime environmental leader and CA legislator Sen. Fran Pavley, hears the bill on June 23.

Find out if your State Senator is on this committee and call his/her office. Ask for the Legislative Assistant assigned to the bill and ask for support. Previously there was no registered opponents. Now, opposition is emerging from the the State Department of Public Health and some water agencies charged to carry out this mandate.

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