WATER: Proposition 218 Considerations
Last updated 5/6/2016 at 9:24am
Since we depend on public water utilities to ensure the safety of our water, we ought to pay attention to cases where water providers have failed, often with catastrophic health consequences, and avoid their mistakes.
After the publicity surrounding Flint, Michigan’s lead contamination of public water, the federal government identified as many as 2,000 public water suppliers exceeding safe drinking water standards for lead. California’s San Joaquin Valley has some of the most contaminated aquifers in the nation, which has the potential of affecting the water quality of approximately 1.3 million residents.
In addition to public water systems, the State Water Resources Control Board sampled 181 domestic wells in Tulare County in 2006, and discovered 40 percent of those tested had nitrate levels above the legal limit. Further studies conducted by the Pacific Institute warn that “contamination of groundwater has wide-reaching effects on California’s health, economic vitality, and environmental well-being, disproportionately affecting low income households and Spanish speaking residents.”
Portions of the upper aquifer in the northern area of the Borrego Valley Groundwater Basin may have nitrate levels exceeding drinking water standards, making the groundwater good for growing crops, but not for people to drink. Some of the growers there provide reverse osmosis systems to remove the salts from the water so their farm crews have access to safe water.
Fortunately, here in the Borrego Valley, the Borrego Water District’s municipal wells, located primarily in the southern portion of the basin, provide the best quality water currently available from the basin. Also, every three years the District samples the water it provides to make sure it meets the state’s drinking water quality standards. Due to the overdraft of the basin, the District is initiating a more frequent sampling program to better plan for future change that may become necessary for the continued delivery of high quality water to its customers.
To read more on this topic, see this issues Borego Sun.