FRESNO (AP) ― California water officials are urging state lawmakers to create a new source of funding by implementing some new taxes and fees so that communities with high levels of nitrates in their drinking water can build and operate safe water systems.
In a report released on Wednesday, the State Water Resources Control Board recommended a point-of-sale fee on agricultural commodities, a fertilizer tax, or a water use fee from residents to offset the costs of new water systems.
A study released last March found that more than 1 million people in California's agricultural heartland rely on raw drinking water sources, with registered nitrate levels exceeding the standard.
Many communities blend or treat their water. But about one in 10 of the people rely on untreated groundwater.
Chemical fertilizers and livestock manure are a main source of contamination. A fertilizer tax would generate between $20 million and $36 million per year.