California Slow to Fund Clean Water
A little outside of Fresno, California, this "impoverished" town is in dire need of clean water. For years, they have been dealing with water that is only safe to flush. Cooking and drinking the liquid is out of the question. Arsenic from agricultural processes runs through their water systems.
Why isn’t the state of California doing something about this? They question is certainly not about a lack of monetary funds: California has the “largest share of unspent money for improving drinking water in the nation.” The United States Environmental Agency has given the state’s Department of Health a deadline of June 24th to come up with plan to fix the funding and streamline their allocation process.
While two million of California’s residents are living without clean drinking water, the rest of the population can grab a glass of tap water without a second thought. So why are these communities suffering when others don’t have to?
For starters, these communities do not have the standing to apply for grants, or technical experts to fix their current situation. Even when money does come in to help fix the water systems, it often goes to waste, which the Los Angeles Times attributes to bad planning and lack of coordination.
While state officials and water advocates are making small victories in the fight to bring clean water to these communties, the Lanare residents aren't holding their breath. The town was awarded $500,000 in December for a study on how to fix their particular situation, but it could be months before clean water is available in their town. Currently, the citizens of Lanare are having to drive 20 miles to Fresno or Hanford to buy their water, and still paying $54 a month for water they can't even drink.