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Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:09 PM

California Farmworkers' Endless Worry: Poverty and No Safe Drinking Water

Farmworkers’ Endless Worry: Tainted Tap Water

But while growing up in this impoverished agricultural community of numbered roads and lush citrus orchards, young people have learned a harsh life lesson: “No tomes el agua!” — “Don’t drink the water!”

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....Here in Tulare County, one of the country’s leading dairy producers, where animal waste lagoons penetrate the air and soil, most residents rely on groundwater as the source for drinking water. A study by the University of California, Davis, this year estimated that 254,000 people in the Tulare Basin and Salinas Valley, prime agricultural regions with about 2.6 million residents, were at risk for nitrate contamination of their drinking water. Nitrates have been linked to thyroid disease and make infants susceptible to “blue baby syndrome,” a potentially fatal condition that interferes with the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen.

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In farmworker communities like Seville, a place of rusty rural mailboxes and backyard roosters where the average yearly income is $14,000, residents like Rebecca Quintana pay double for water: both for the tap water they use only to shower and wash clothes, and for the five-gallon bottles they must buy weekly for drinking, cooking and brushing their teeth.

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Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Human Right to Water bill, which directs state agencies to make clean water a financing priority. “Clean water ought to be a right,” said Bill Chiat, who educates government officials on water issues. “The question is, how are you going to pay for it?”

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/us/tainted-water-in-california-farmworker-communities.html?hp&pagewanted=all

4 replies, 601 views

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Reply California Farmworkers' Endless Worry: Poverty and No Safe Drinking Water (Original post)
amborin Nov 2012 OP
DCKit Nov 2012 #1
Control-Z Nov 2012 #2
amborin Nov 2012 #3
Control-Z Nov 2012 #4

Response to amborin (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:16 PM

1. You pay for it with punitive fines on the people who fucked it up. That's how. nt

 

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Response to DCKit (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:40 PM

2. Exactly!! n/t

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Response to Control-Z (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:48 PM

3. not easy to accomplish; 200 million lbs pesticide a year, and not enough regulatory power eom

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Response to amborin (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 04:20 PM

4. More regulators. Could be a win-win. More regulators = more jobs.

We should have tough regulations and the work force to enforce them. The fines should be large enough to help cover the costs. I know I'm thinking too simplistically but this is California. We're the state that goes for tough regulations and laws when it comes to the environment.

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