Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The following is an appeal from the United Farm Workers of the United States in Los Banos, California.
Farm worker families desperately need your help for safe drinking water:

Contact the Department of Fish and Game today and tell them to allow the community to connect to the city water supply.
Approximately 200 farm workers and their families live in the 49 units at the Rafael L. Silva Migrant Family Housing Center in Los Banos, CA. These workers don’t have access to safe drinking water. Please help.

According to the Merced County Health Department, the water that comes out of their pipes has unacceptable amounts of arsenic, copper and radionuclide. Families get a ration of bottled water. However, they say the amount is not enough to have clean water for household chores and practice good hygiene. Families end up using having to use the contaminated well water.

Martin Jimenez and his family use the well water to shower. "Your hair falls out," he said, describing the experience. Jimenez also said he has a rash from using the water. Other workers wash their dishes in this water. (July 12, Los Banos Enterprise)

Fish and Game has a pipeline that could provide safe water to these families, but they refuse to allow these families to use it. The Housing Authority has been negotiating with them ever since the camp re-opened in 2006 to be allowed to use Fish and Game’s pipeline until the Housing Authority could put in its own. Every excuse that Fish and Game has given has been resolved. However, they still refuse to allow the community to connect to their water line that receives safe water from the City of Los Banos.

Please help. Sign the online petition TODAY & tell Fish and Game to be a good neighbor and stop forcing kids and their families to use contaminated water.
Tell me more
Send this petition to:
California Fish and Game Commission
Director of the Department of Fish and Game Donald Koch

It's time for action. The residents of the Rafael L. Silva Migrant Family Housing Center in Los Banos, CA., the Housing Authority, and Merced County have been acting on good faith for the last two years. They have taken numerous measures to appease your department's concerns. They expected their efforts would result in safe drinking water for the residents of the Los Banos Migrant Camp.
However, for every step advocates took in the direction of solving the problem, the Department of Fish and Game took a step backwards and found another problem. Drinking bottled water only solves half the problem given that arsenic, copper, and radionuclide are actually absorbed into the skin when bathing. Children accidentally drink the water when bathing and at times drink the water when they are thirsty. It is crucial that the residents have access to safe drinking water. In fact, it's a human right.
We the undersigned call upon the Department of Fish and Game to IMMEDIATELY allow the Los Banos Migrant Camp to connect to their existing water line that receives City of Los Banos water.
Please go to THIS LINK to sign the petition above.

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