Water is the Life of our City

The City of Fresno is committed to providing a safe, affordable and reliable water supply to our customers. The health and safety of our water is of utmost importance. Much has been in the news lately regarding outside forces threatening to reduce our water supply, and nothing would have a greater ripple effect on our economic vitality or quality of life than a reduction of water. The water issues we face are regional, from farmers to rural communities, to our own urban water users. A reliable supply is critical to our community, and as a customer of the City of Fresno Water Division, you can rest assured that the quality of our water continues to meet required public health standards.

Read the rest of the  2011 Annual Water Quality Report for the City of Fresno.  It also can be accessed at the city's Department of Public Utilities, Water Division.

City of Fresno Watering Schedule 


Safe Drinking Water

The Water Quality section is responsible for providing safe, good quality water. Numerous treatment facilities fluoridate, disinfect and remove synthetic organic contaminants at various well sites. Administration in water quality includes monthly reports to the health department and customer reports.

Water Quality Report

The State of California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, require water utilities to provide to their customers an annual consumer confidence report (CCR) annually. This report contains important information concerning the quality of your drinking water.

The following reports are provided in PDF format. A PDF reader is required for viewing. If you need to obtain a PDF reader one is available for free by visiting Adobe.

Water Quality report for 2005
Water Quality report for 2006
Water Quality report for 2007 
Water Quality report for 2008 
Water Quality report for 2011

Fresno, California, is the only community in the United States to have received a grade of F from the Natural Resources Defense Council for protection of our source water, and we received grades of D for Water Quality and Compliance, and for Right-to-Know Reports. Our watersheds have been rated as among the dirtiest/worst in the nation on the Environmental Scorecard .

Sources of Toxic Releases and Hazardous Waste in Fresno

The green squares show sources of hazardous waste; the tourquoise squares show locations of toxic releases. Source: EPA, October 2005

Environmental Scorecard Ratings for Watersheds, Fresno, California

An Environmental Working Group analysis of tap water tests from 1998 through 2003 shows that customers of City of Fresno drank water containing up to 31 pollutants, including 5 unregulated contaminants . City of Fresno is one of 65,000 water suppliers across the country wrestling with treating water polluted by sprawl, sewage, factory farms, and industry. The complete report is here.

Source: NRDC

The city supply is Fresno Sole Source, a large, unconfined groundwater aquifer. In this city, groundwater contamination is a serious problem, as it is highly susceptible to contamination from agriculture, urban, and suburban runoff, and percolation (gradual recharge of groundwater by contaminated surface water) when dissolved contaminants from these sources seeps into the groundwater.Source: What's on Tap? Grading Drinking Water in U.S. Cities, June, 2003, Natural Resources Defense Council

Findings from the Natural Resources Defence Council Report, What's on Tap? Grading Drinking Water in U.S. Cities, June, 2003:

  • Some cities like Chicago have excellent tap water; most cities have good or mediocre tap water; yet several cities--such as Albuquerque, Fresno, and San Francisco--have water that is sufficiently contaminated so as to pose potential health risks to some consumers, particularly to pregnant women, infancts, children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems... (P.1.)

  • Citizens have a right to know whether their drinking water is safe, as mandated in the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law required water suppliers to notify the public of dangers in tap water and inform people about the overall health of their watershed. Instead, in many cases, right-to-know reports have become propoganda for water suppliers, and the enormous promise of right-to-know reports has not been achieved.

  • NRDC's research revealed that the quality of cities' annual right-to-know reports varied widely: more than half the cities surveyed had reports that were, at the very least, partially successful tools for consumer education; however, some, like Fresno...were less than direct, burying, obscuring, and even omitting findings about health effects of contaminants in city water supplies, printing misleading statements, and violating a number of right-to-know requirements. (P. 28.).

    For example:

    Fresno buried health warnings for pregnant women regarding nitrates at elevated levels in city water.

    Fresno buried mention of city wells exceeding drinking water standards for nitrates, 1,2-DCE, cis-1,2-DCE, DBCP, EDB, and TCE.

    Fresno incorrectly asserted that Fresno did not violate enforceable standards.

    Fresno offered no names or details on specific pollution sources or on health effects of some contaminants. (P.31.)

    • Regarding radon:

      Fresno is in violation of the proposed national standard of radon...Radon in known to cause lung cancer. No amount of it is considered fully safe in tap water; indeed, a single particle of radon can cause cancer. Deaths from lung and stomach cancer are caused by breathing radon released to the air from water and from consuming water that contains radon. In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the United States after smoking. (P. 65.)

    • Regarding Source Water Protection:

      Some cities like Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, and Denver have at least some well-protected watersheds. Some cities have site-specific burdens. For example, Fresno relies upon wells, many of which have become seriously contaminated by agricultural and industrial pollution, including nitrates... (P.38.)

      Elevetated levels of nitrates, which are the product of fertilizers and human or animal waste, are a high concern in regard to Fresno's water. High levels of nitrate contamination also can com from septic tanks and sewers. (P.52.)

      Fresno earned a "Threats to Source Water" rating of 6, the worst possible rating. (What's on Tap? Grading Drinking Water in U.S. Cities, 2002, P. 4, Natural Resources Defence Council):

      At least 32 Fresno wells have serious contamination problems. The water in those wells must therefore be treated with granular activated carbon at the city's 28 treatment sites, and it must be monitored as often as weekly to determine whether it violates standards.

      Fresno's drinking water sources are highly susceptible to contamination by urban runoff and agricultural pollution.

      Groundwater contamination in Fresno is a serious problem for the city.

Findings from the Natural Resources Defence Council report,
Study Finds Safety of Drinking Water in some U.S. Cities at Risk, found that:

Fresno has no real source water protection.

Fresno's groundwater is becoming seriously compromised by agricultural and industrial pollution, including nitrates.
NRDC also evaluated efforts to protect lakes, streams and groundwater serving as drinking water sources. Seattle has adopted excellent protection measures, four cities had good protection, four had fair protection, seven had poor protection, and Fresno failed. --As reported in HealthyHome.Com

EPA's Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) site provides information about Fresno's drinking water suppliers that are in EPA's database, and provides violation reports relating to health-based, monitoring, reporting, and other violations.

EPA's Ground Water and Drinking Water site lists 3524 documents relating to Fresno's water.

EPA's EnviroFacts Data Warehouse site lists 25220 files relating to Fresno.

The 2008 Annual Water Quality Report for the City of Fresno can be accessed at the city's Department of Public Utilities, Water Division.

3:00 PM

Lloyd Carter, President of California Save Our Streams Council and former professor of water law at San Joaquin College of Law hosts a 30-minute program on KFCF, 88.1 FM, focusing on San Joaquin Valley water, environmental and agriculture issues. www.lloydcarter.com

For more information on San Joaquin Valley water issues see:
www.c-win.org , www.revivethesanjoaquin.org , www.badlandsjournal.com , & www.communitywatercenter.org .

March 15 -22
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s "Save the Water Committee" is organizing our first Water Week to be observed March 15-22. March 22 is International Water Day and we would like to have events taking place each day of the week to remind and educate everyone on the importance of our water...OUR water. So far two events are planned. On March 2oth the Cineculture Series, headed by WILPFer Mary Husain, will show FLOW (For Love Of Water) at California State University Fresno, with Lloyd Carter being the discussant after the film. Several artists have committed to showing water-themed art at the third Thursday Art Hop on March 19th. We welcome ideas for more water-related events during that week. Please contact Jean Hays at 313-7674 with your creative thoughts!

Just enter your zip code and find out what pollutants are being released into the Fresno community--and who is responsible. Find out how Fresno County ranks in terms of toxic chemical releases from manufacturing facilities; about air and water quality rankings; or join one of the forums about pollution in the Fresno County area.

Groundwater Level Data Retrieval Map Interface

California Department of Water Resources
Division of Planning and Local Assistance

    This map provides access to individual water well data. Click on one of the red symbols on the map below to retrieve a hydrograph and tabular listing of the data for that well. If no symbols appear on the map, then no water level data are available for that area. Data may also be obtained using our text interface.

To find information on your local public water system, check the
EPA's Safe Drinking Water Envirofacts Warehouse:



On February 2, 2006, Environment California Research & Policy Center was joined by the Tehipite Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Revive the San Joaquin, in calling for the cleanup of the San Joaquin River, as required under the original Clean Water Act more than thirty years ago and again under recent U.S. EPA policy.

Pictured, left to right, are Richard Sloan of the Tehipite Chapter of the Sierra Club and organizer of RiverTree Volunteers Incorporated, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to maintenance of the San Joaquin River watershed; Jeannette Gayer, of Environment California Research & Policy Center; and George Folsom, Chairman, Revive the San Joaquin.

Contact information and resources:

Richard Sloan, (559) 696-2971, RiverRich1509@aol.com
Jeannette Gayer, (703) 475-3228, jennette@environmentcalifornia.org
George Folsom, (559) 486-5222, gjfolsom@sbcglobal.net, www.revivethesanjoaquin.org.

Tehipite Chapter of the Sierra Club
Environment California
Revive the San Joaquin: The documentary, "Tales of the San Joaquin," and a Power Point presentation on the San Joaquin River Basin Storage are available at this site.

For a copy of A Clean Water Future for California: The Historic Opportunity for California’s Water Boards to Clean Up Nine of the State’s Biggest Polluted Rivers, Bays and Lakes, click on www.environmentcalifornia.org


October 18 - December 18, 2006

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is pleased to announce its adoption of the World Water Monitoring Day program, which is set to take place on October 18, 2006. World Water Monitoring Day offers communities around the world a chance to positively impact the health of rivers, lakes, estuaries, and other waterbodies.

Use your own equipment or purchase an easy-to-use test kit by clicking on Order Kits. Each kit contains an informative instruction book and enough reagents to repeat up to 50 tests. Monitor your site anytime from September 18 through October 18 to test the water. Report your data. You did the work, so let us know about your water. You can submit your results right on the website - just click the link and choose "Enter Data." Results may be entered anytime from September 18, 2006 through December 18, 2006 for inclusion in the annual World Water Monitoring Day summary reports.

Did you know Fresno, California, is the only community in the United States to have received a grade of F from the Natural Resources Defence Council for protection of our source water, and that we received grades of D for Water Quality and Compliance, and for Right-to-Know Reports? See the 1000 Friends of Fresno Water Quality page for details

Water Science for Schools tells the story of where, how much, and in what forms water exists on Earth.

water science

Pesticides Contamination Information for High Schools was created by Hlee Rosie Vang, a student at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, so that other students could learn about the Pesticide Project. She explains that there are three main places where pesticide contamination of water occurs: In ground water, surface water, and the atmosphere. Each of these places is described in detail.

The Pesticide National Synthesis Project provides a national assessment of pesticides in the streams, rivers, and ground water of the United States.

Pesticide Information for Schools includes a summary of pesticides in the hydrologic system, and lists the 10 most common pesticides detected.

When bottled water costs about 2000 times more than what comes out of the faucet, what are we really paying for? John Ridley looks at Americans' $9 billion dollars-a-year obsession with plastic encased H2O.

Water...we all depend on it for survival. But water is a scarce resource-only one percent of all water on earth is freshwater! How can we keep this water pure and fresh?

Many things happen in a watershed that affect the quality of the water we rely upon. What are they? Would you make the best decisions in managing your watershed? Examine the issues in each area of the watershed, then see the impacts of your choices!

The Watershed Game was developed by Minnesota IDEALS and Educational Web Adventures.

is a wonderful way to interactively teach both kids and adults how to reduce runoff pollution to protect our water resources. Click on the farm, city, or neighborhood on the left to see how runoff in these areas can affect the health of our waters.

Did you know that soil, litter, and other wastes from city streets can cause runoff pollution? A visit to the city in Splash! lets you answer questions about urban pollution, listen to songs, view animation and learn the 3 R's of cleaning the environment. Also, click on the arrow in the picture to get a closer view.


Click on map for headlines. Then click on icons for journal entries.

Six Exciting Games and Activities at the EPA Polluted Runoff site:

  • Masterbug Theater
  • What's Wrong with This Picture
  • Darby Duck and the Aquatic Crusaders
  • Splash!
  • Word Search Puzzle
  • Activities for Middle School Students
  • Ground Water and Drinking Water Kids' Page
  • Links
  • Office of Water Kids' Stuff

Copyright 2004 1000 Friends of Fresno
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS:1000friends@sbcglobal.net