Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment means that no population bears a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or from the execution of federal, state, and local laws; regulations; and policies. Meaningful involvement requires effective access to decision makers for all, and the ability in all communities to make informed decisions and take positive actions to produce environmental justice for themselves.

The North Coast Regional Water Board is committed to Environmental Justice.  With meaningful involvement in mind, Regional Water Board staff conducts outreach to stakeholders and disadvantaged communities in the north coast region to provide opportunities to participate in decision making to the greatest degree possible and to provide technical and compliance assistance to small disadvantaged communities that lack sufficient resources to consistently meet permit requirements and policies directives. Since 2016, Regional Water Board staff has assisted disadvantaged communities in obtaining public funding for construction of permanent and sustainable wastewater collection, treatment and disposal systems to better protect water quality and public health.

Human Right to Water

Access to water and sanitation are recognized as human rights, reflecting the fundamental nature of these basics in every person’s life. Lack of access to safe, sufficient and affordable water, sanitation and hygiene facilities has a devastating effect on the people’s health, dignity and prosperity, and has significant consequences for the realization of other human rights. The North Coast adopted a resolution in 2019 affirming the human right to water as a core value.

Regional Water Board staff has developed a Groundwater Protection Strategy to support basin-specific groundwater quality assessment and protection efforts. Issues addressed by this strategy include need for assessment of groundwater quality (including shallow groundwater), recycled water use for irrigation, and the discharge of waste to land. This effort particularly serves to protect water users of individual or small groundwater supply systems located in disadvantaged communities.

Assistance to Disadvantaged Communities

Grant funding and technical assistance are available to disadvantaged communities to complete needed infrastructural projects or for capacity building activities. These opportunities are managed by the Division of Financial Assistance (DFA) at the State Water Board. However, Region 1 staff can also guide communities through the process of acquiring grant funding or a technical assistance provider, and coordinate meetings with DFA as needed. This fact sheet provides more information on primary DFA funding programs, who is eligible, and helpful information for those interested in obtaining funding.

Racial Equity

The North Coast Regional Water Board adopted a Racial Equity Resolution on February 2, 2023. Staff are now preparing a Racial Equity Action Plan. Contact RB1-Equity@waterboards.ca.gov for more information.

  (Page last updated 4/12/23)