Groundwater Planning in CA — Salinas Valley, California, U.S.A. (July 2019)
Photograph and Narrative Provided by Flora Lu
Researchers from the California team attended a Workshop on Protecting Drinking Water and Groundwater Planning hosted by the Community Water Center, the San Jerardo Cooperative, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, which brought together community residents, small water system representatives, and community leaders in the Salinas Valley on July 31, 2019. The workshop was an opportunity to share information about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and what is being proposed by the Salinas Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency in its Groundwater Sustainability Plan. The location of the meeting was very important: the San Jerardo housing cooperative, built by farmworkers involved in the United Farm Workers strikes that took place in the Salinas Valley in the early 1970s.
The cooperative was an abandoned labor barracks, which the farmworker families first used as a squatting camp then purchased and transformed. For years, the 250 people living there have struggled with unsafe drinking water contaminated by nitrates and 1,2,3 Trichloropropane.