CA State Water Board to Hear Comments from Tribal Communities on their Racial Equity Resolution

Annelia Hillman, artist and Yurok Tribal Member, speaks at a rally against the Delta Tunnel in Redding in March 2020 as members of the Hoopa Valley High School Water Protectors Club display their sign proclaiming "No Water for Profit!" Photo by Dan Bacher. | 



By Dan Bacher |

Hearing in Redding and Online July 21

The State Water Resources Control Board is inviting the public to participate in a workshop where you will learn about their ongoing racial equity efforts and join California in developing a draft Racial Equity Action Plan, according to a press advisory from Save California Salmon.



Save California Salmon said it is supporting river communities that are participating in this hearing.

“Please help us create a future where we equitably preserve, enhance, and restore California’s water resources and drinking water,” the group urged.

“Making comments regarding resolutions like the Racial Equity Resolution is so important for Indigenous communities.” explained Danielle Frank with Save California Salmon. “We have a perspective that must be included in these conversations and making comments at these hearings is how we can make sure our voices are heard.” 

What is the state water resources control board resolution no. 2021-0050 condemning racism, xenophobia, bigotry, and racial injustice and strengthening commitment to racial equity, diversity, inclusion, access, and anti-racism?

In November 2021 California's State Water Resources Control Board passed a resolution condemning racism in water decisions and committing to inclusion.

“The resolution is a great step, but it included racist and untrue language that California Tribes had ‘lost’ their water rights,” the group said. “Tribes are first in time water rights holders, but California has refused to acknowledge this and despite several promises has still not changed this language.” 

“The regional boards that represent the majority of Northern California  (and the state's water sources), the North Coast and Central Valley Water Boards, did not engage and most Tribes  have yet to be consulted. These hearings are a chance to fix these issues and make the resolution meaningful to rural communities,” the group stated.

How does racial equality impact our river communities? Here’s how, according to Save California Salmon:

  • River flow and salmon issues are a Racial Equality issue as Tribal people rely on clean water for their foods such as salmon and other fishes, for ceremonies, for cultural resources, and for drinking water.

  • Reforming California's racist water rights system should be a top priority. The system is based on claims and landownership and is a hold out from when native people, women, and people of color could not own land or vote.

  • Racist and untrue language in the resolution needs to be changed to reflect the true history of how Tribes' water rights, land rights, and cultures were stolen and to reflect that California Tribes still retain water rights.

  • The Central Valley and North Coast Boards need to commit to restoring rivers as the majority of the state's water comes from these regions and need to meaningfully consult Tribes.

  • Most Californians rely on rivers for their drinking water, but often agribusiness or affluent cities and people take water before others.

  • Agricultural chemicals and pollution need to be tightly regulated as they are causing serious health problems for people and fish.

  • Meetings related to pollution, fisheries, and flows need to happen in our communities, outside of normal work hours and include childcare when needed and possible.   

July 20, 2022. 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Remote Participation Only and Spanish Interpretation 

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA  July 21, 2022. 4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Remote & In-Person Participation

Win-River Resort 2100 Redding Rancheria Rd. Redding, CA 96001

TO REGISTER and for agendas and background materials, visit linktr.ee/ca.water.boards.racialequity.

Restore the Delta also sent out an announcement urging people to participate in developing a draft Racial Equity Action Plan:

“In 2021, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted a resolution that reaffirmed out commitment to racial equity, and now they are working to develop a Racial Equity Action Plan to put the resolution into action. Throughout summer 2022, SWRCB staff will engage with communities most impacted by their work to gather feedback on the draft action plan. For more information on how to get involved and on the Water Boards’ racial equity work, use the links below to learn more.”

DATES, LOCATION, REGISTRATION:
STATEWIDE
July 20, 2022. 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Remote Participation Only
Spanish Interpretation Available

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
July 21, 2022. 4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Remote & In-Person Participation
Win-River Resort
2100 Redding Rancheria Rd. Redding, CA 96001

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
July 25, 2022. 4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Remote & In-Person Participation
North Shore Beach and Yacht Club Community Center
99155 Sea View Dr., Mecca, CA 92254
Spanish Interpretation Available

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA
July 27, 2022. 4:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Remote & In-Person
Participation Self-Help Enterprises
8445 W Elowin Ct, Visalia, CA 93291
Spanish Interpretation Available



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