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.

Regional Water Board staff is developing a Groundwater Protection Strategy, to support basin-specific groundwater quality assessment and protection efforts. Issues to be 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 will particularly serve to protect water users of individual or small groundwater supply systems located in disadvantaged communities.

Assistance to Disadvantaged Communities

In 2016, The North Coast Regional Water Board staff conducted a region-wide analysis to determine which counties and communities in our region are considered small and disadvantaged or severely disadvantaged and facing a financial hardship. Regional Water Board staff has been using the information gained to prioritize compliance assistance in various core regulatory programs, to facilitate grant and loan applications, and to expedite settlement negotiation in enforcement proceedings. This analysis was updated in 2017, using updated 2016 census data. Click the following link for a copy of the 2016 report. Click the following link for a copy of the updated census data for disadvantaged communities (DACs) in the north coast region.

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  (Page last updated 5/21/21)