Solutions for Underperforming Drinking Water Systems in California

Solutions for Underperforming Drinking Water Systems in California

Published: October 2020

Authors: Laura Feinstein, Katie Porter, Darcy Bostic, Morgan Shimabuku, Cindy Paulson, Alex Waite, and Rucker Alex

Pages: 119

Solutions for Underperforming Drinking Water Systems in California


California passed the Human Right to Water in 2012, acknowledging that every resident has a right to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. Both large and small water systems struggle to provide safe drinking water; however, small systems face the greatest challenges. Many of these small systems primarily serve disadvantaged communities that have limited funds and resources. Helping small systems comply with safe drinking water standards can move California closer to achieving the Human Right to Water and is even more urgent as California and the world grapples with the consequences of the COVID‐19 pandemic.

This report examines underperforming water systems in California that fail to provide safe drinking water, identifies potential solutions, and looks at lessons learned that can be applied to the rest of the nation. It concludes that a state-level strategy to improve the drinking water quality of small water systems would optimize resources and improve results. Additionally, assessing water quality issues holistically would enable stakeholders to make significant improvements to drinking water quality for small water systems.

The report was produced by the Water Research Foundation, in partnership with California Urban Water Agencies and the Pacific Institute.

View and download the report on the Water Research Foundation website here. (You will be required to create a free account.)

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