California one step from becoming first state to declare clean drinking water a human right

A bill Assemblyman Mike Eng (D-Alhambra) authored, which seeks to guarantee every Californian access to clean drinking water by declaring it a human right, is on its way to the governor.

Assembly Bill 685 would most significantly assist residents of the Central Valley, many of whom live in low-income communities with polluted water. But Eng, who represents San Gabriel Valley, said the bill would greatly impact his constituents as well. A recent U.S. Geological Survey found that nearby basins such as San Gabriel and San Fernando contain high levels of toxins. While experts say Alhambra's tap water is safe to drink, Eng believes it could be contaminated in the future.

"This hits close to home for me as a very polluted large aquifer the size of Lake Tahoe sits under almost the entire area I represent," Eng said in a press release Wednesday. "A full quarter of the 275 public water-supply wells from that body of water have been closed due to contamination."

Gov. Brown is in support of clean water legislation and signed several similar bills into law last December, reported Calfifornia Watch. If signed into law, Assembly Bill 685 would make California the first state in the U.S. to declare clean and accessible water a human right.

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