The Water Justice program at Nuestra Casa seeks to promote tap water and groundwater education and advocacy.

Hear from community members and experts about the need for and solutions towards water equity in East Palo Alto.

East Palo Alto has a long history of water supply issues. Working with the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water and the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, Nuestra Casa is part of a broad Bay Area water justice initiative. Under this initiative, we conducted a community needs assessment and supported residents in assessing and testing their drinking water. Now that the results are in, we plan to work with the community to determine the best path forward for improving water infrastructure, access, and quality.

Do you know where your drinking water comes from?

EPA’s water comes from three different water systems. A map of their service areas is available in Figure 2-1 of the City’s Water System Master Plan.

Why is it important to be aware of your water sources?

It isn’t very easy to understand water supply and delivery in any city. We recommend you learn who your water provider is and what the source of that water is (surface water versus groundwater). If you know who supplies your home’s water, you can ask for their Consumer Confidence Reports. These reports have detailed information about the quality of your drinking water. You can also ask questions about your bills. Finally, you will know where to call when you have an emergency or any issues with your water.

How can you help shape the future of water access and quality in EPA?

Get involved. Join the Nuestra Casa Community Water Task Force. Our Community Task Force has met regularly since in late 2023. This task force aims to help community members become experts on our water system. We are working together to identify the most effective ways to address our water system challenges. For more information about the Task Force, please write us here:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Mutual water companies are private not-for-profit organizations. Most mutual water systems are very small and rely on local groundwater. They do not have the financial resources or large staffs typical of most Bay Area urban water systems, such as East Palo Alto City Water. They are subject to many of the same regulations as public water companies.
Water in East Palo Alto comes from several sources, primarily surface water from the Sierra Nevada mountains and local groundwater. Each source has varying quality levels and issues. For example, the O’Connor Tract Co-Operative Water Company delivers groundwater, and testing has detected elevated levels of manganese in the water. It’s safe to drink but contains a contaminant that may not be present in a different water source. O’Connor Water is currently constructing a manganese treatment plant to mitigate this secondary-level contaminant so that the water meets secondary standards of regulation. Palo Alto Park Mutual had a secondary MCL violation for aluminum levels that was resolved in August 2022. Hetch Hetchy, one of the Bay Area’s major watersheds and sources of surface water, is from the Sierra Nevada and is considered one of the purest forms of drinking water available.
If you are concerned about your water, contact your local water utility. East Palo Alto City Water: (650) 322-2083. O’Connor Tract Co-Operative Water Company: (650) 321-2723. Palo Alto Park Mutual Water Company: (650) 322-6903.