Dear Three Rivers:
Your friends and neighbors need your help.
Immediately upon returning from the mandatory fire evacuation, dozens of Three Rivers residents were given retroactive notice that their monthly water system assessment increased 260% and their usage rate 186%. The new monthly charge (more than $200 for most households) for water that does not consistently meet state health requirements is impossible for lower income households to pay in full. The situation is exacerbated by the need to maintain landscapes that alleviate the high fire risk. The water bill increase is adversely affecting our seniors, essential service providers, and families financially impacted by pandemic mitigations and the public land closures due to the fires. Water Woes in Three Rivers
Situations like this are increasingly common in California despite access to safe, clean, and affordable water being declared a human right in 2012.
Fortunately, AB 401 (2015) provides a solution. AB 401 established the Affordable Drinking Water – Low-Income Rate Assistance (LIRA) Program. The final report regarding the feasibility, financial stability, and desired structure of the program was completed and the program is awaiting implementation. Water Woes in Three Rivers
Please take a moment to reach out to our representatives to request prompt implementation of this statewide program, which is needed now more than ever due to the economic impact of COVID-19 mitigation and the fires. Please encourage your friends and family throughout California to do the same. Water Woes in Three Rivers
Please add a comment below if you have any questions or solutions.
Assemblyperson Jim Patterson— https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD23
County Supervisor Kuyler Crocker— firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of the Governor— https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/
Resources: Water Woes in Three Rivers
Californians’ Right to Water— https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/hr2w/
Example message to Assemblyperson Patterson:
I am writing to urge you to take immediate action to ensure that all California residents have access to drinking water during these difficult economic times. Specifically, I am asking you to a) actively support establishment of a fund to cover water bill debts accrued during the pandemic and b) take any necessary steps to enable the immediate implementation of AB 401 (2015). Water Woes in Three Rivers
During this time of economic hardship due to COVID-19, water bills are increasing substantially and people are finding it impossible to pay the rate and assessment increases. In my community, for example, upon returning from a mandatory fire evacuation, residents were given retroactive notice that the monthly assessment increased 260% and our usage rate 186%. The new monthly charge (more than $200) for water that does not consistently meet state health requirements is impossible for lower income households to pay in full. The situation is exacerbated by the need to maintain landscapes that alleviate the high fire risk. The monthly bill increase is adversely affecting seniors, essential service providers, and families financially impacted by pandemic mitigation and fire.
Our lower income residents require assistance in accord with AB 685 (2012), which established the “right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.” Water Woes in Three Rivers
I appreciate your immediate attention to this urgent matter and I look forward to your response.