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U.S. EPA gives $75,000 to help California tribes protect drinking water systems

Release Date: 2/17/2004
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

Workshops will be held today in Lakeport,Calif.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $75,000 to a nonprofit organization to assist California tribes in protecting their drinking water systems from vandalism, terrorist attacks, and other threats.

The EPA awarded $75,000 to the Rural Community Assistance Center in West Sacramento, Calif. to assist tribes in assessing potential vulnerabilities in their drinking water systems. Workshops are being held today and tomorrow in Lakeport, Calif.

"Investing in water security is especially important for smaller systems, which are often more vulnerable," said Alexis Strauss, the EPA's water division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "This funding will help our tribal partners protect their vital sources of drinking water."

The EPA has awarded $440,000 to three nonprofit organizations and the Navajo Nation to help tribes in California, Arizona and Nevada assess and protect their drinking water systems. Tribal drinking water systems are often located in isolated areas that can be difficult to secure and patrol, which makes them potentially more vulnerable to risks.

The Bioterrorism Act of 2002 requires that the EPA and drinking water systems take steps to improve the security of the nation's drinking water infrastructure. All tribal community water systems that serve between 3,300 and 50,000 people are required to conduct vulnerability assessments by June 2004.