News Alert

Here at CalMutuals, we pride ourselves on keeping our members and supporters updated on the latest news impacting mutual water companies throughout California.

To read our latest news alert, click here.

If you aren’t already on our mailing list, email us at Denise@CalMutuals.org to ensure you receive the latest information and news items impacting mutual water companies across the state.

CalMutuals Directors and Staff Provide Public Comments During SWRCB & CPUC Consolidation Workshop

On November 13th, CalMutuals Vice President Dave Armstrong, Director Jim Byerrum, California Domestic Water Company Vice President Lynda Noriega, and Executive Director Adan Ortega attended the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB or the “Water Board”) and California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) joint workshop on water system consolidation and the proposed “drinking water fee” legislation (SB 623) in Sacramento.

SWRCB staff provided an overview of the number of water systems currently in violation of safe drinking water standards and the first “compliance warning signs;” including: monitoring violations, lack of technical capacity and financial challenges. To review the State Board’s Fact Sheet on mandatory consolidations, click here.

CalMutuals representatives provided public comments regarding the important role and contributions made by mutual water companies statewide in ensuring access to safe and affordable drinking water for many of the state’s residents. CalMutuals will continue to track the State Board’s and CPUC’s efforts on consolidation to ensure that mutual water companies are not unnecessarily or unfairly targeted for consolidation.

In addition to the State Board’s and CPUC’s presentation on consolidation, attendees received information regarding SB 623 (Monning) a bill sponsored by the Community Water Center, a Visalia-based non-profit, that if passed would establish the state’s first tax on drinking water to fund safe drinking water solutions for disadvantaged communities. SB 623 is a two-year bill and will be reintroduced during the 2018 legislative session.

We will continue to keep our members apprised on both issues.

State Water Board Releases Water Waste Regulation Proposal

In response to Governor Brown’s executive orders B-37-16 and B-40-17, the State Water Board has released its draft of a new proposed regulation which would prohibit the following wasteful water use practices:

  • The application of water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff;
  • The use of a hose to wash an automobile except where the hose is equipped with a shut-off nozzle;
  • The application of potable water to hardscapes;
  • The use of potable water in non-recirculating ornamental fountains or other decorative water features;
  • The application of water to outdoor landscapes during or within 48-hours after measurable rainfall; and
  • The irrigation of turf on public street medians and verges unless the turf serves a community or neighborhood function.

In addition, the proposed regulation prohibits serving water except when requested in restaurants and bars, and requires hotels and motels to offer guests the option of not having their towels and linens replaced on a daily basis.

The State Water Board hosted an informational public workshop in Sacramento on Tuesday, November 21st.  For more information on the workshop and the formal comment period, click here.

To read the draft proposal, click here.

For more information, click here to visit the State Water Board’s conservation portal.

FREE Financial Sustainability for Small Systems e-Learning Course

The Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) is offering a FREE 2 hour e-Learning course focusing on three major areas needed by small systems to achieve financial sustainability:

  • Setting up, managing and using enterprise funds
  • Enterprise fund revenues (their origin, what they should cover, and how to set up rates to cover expenses)
  • What it takes to provide safe water to protect public health (major regulations and their role in water quality, common operational questions managers should address, and how to involve operators in management decisions)

To sign up for this free e-learning course, click here.

CalMutuals in the News: Op-Ed on Invalidation of Chrom6 MCL

CalMutuals President, Lisa Yamashita-Lopez and Twentynine Palms Water District General Manager, Ray Kolisz have written an Op-Ed, published in the Sacramento Bee.

In the piece, Yamashita-Lopez and Kolisz thank the State Water Board for choosing not to appeal a recent court decision invalidating the maximum contaminant level for Chromium 6.

The court found there had been no economic feasibility analysis before imposing an extremely high standard that resulted in smaller water systems, many within disadvantaged communities, being disproportionately impacted by the financial burdens associated with the new standard.

To read the Op-Ed, click here.

CalMutuals Submits Comments on 1,2,3-TCP MCL

On July 12th, CalMutuals submitted formal comments and recommendations regarding the State Water Resources Control Board’s (the “Board”) proposed maximum contaminant level (MCL) for 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP).

While CalMutuals supports the adoption of an MCL for 1,2,3-TCP, our letter urges the Board to include a compliance period prior to enforcement to ensure water suppliers and utilities are provided adequate time to implement measures to comply with the new MCL.  

During the Board’s July 18th hearing, the MCL for 1,2,3-TCP was adopted at 5 parts per trillion without a compliance period.  The Board’s action has prompted CalMutuals to advocate for the adoption of compliance periods in the establishment of new regulations as a focus issue for 2018.

To download a copy of the comment letter, click here.

CalMutuals & CalMutuals JPRIMA Annual Meeting

CalMutuals and CalMutuals JPRIMA held their annual meeting at the CaliPaso Winery & Villa in beautiful Paso Robles.

In addition to conducting official business and the election of officers, attendees heard from our co-sponsors, Raftelis Consultants & Holman Capital who discussed two important topics:

  • How to Complete a Rate Study
  • Available Financing Tools for Water Infrastructure Improvements

There was also a luncheon discussion on water rights and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and drinking water regulations.

Th evening before the meeting, co-sponsors, Raftelis Financial Consultants and Holman Capital, generously sponsored a FREE Wine Happy Hour at the Pianetta Winery for attendees.

To view photos from the meeting, click here.

Members:  You can access materials from the meeting by clicking here.

We want to thank everyone involved in making the event a success!

Fee Reductions for Systems Serving Disadvantaged Communities

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has issued a notice regarding the Public Water System Annual Fee, stating that provisions have been made to lower fees for public water systems that serve disadvantaged communities.

The SWRCB outlined the criteria used in determining if a water system qualifies for the lower fee.

To read the full notice, click here.

Final Ruling Issued in Chromium-6 Case: Court Sides with Small Water Systems

A Superior Court judge has ordered the State Water Resources Control Board to implement a new drinking water standard for chromium-6 that takes into account the limitations of small systems.  In the ruling, the court said the Department of Public Health (DPH) failed to consider economic feasibility when, in early May 2014, it set the nation’s first drinking water standard in California for chromium-6 at a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 parts per billion (ppb).

 “We are pleased with the judge’s ruling and his sensitivity to small systems,” said Lisa Yamashita-Lopez, President of CalMutuals. “We are grateful to those whoworked with CalMutuals to gather the data provided to the courts which helped inform the case of the true impacts to small systems,” she added.

Many water suppliers, especially small systems, faced unprecedented costs in treating to the 10ppb standard for chromium-6.

In his May 5 ruling, Superior Court Judge Christopher E. Krueger sided with economically-challenged water systems. In his decision, Judge Krueger said the Department failed to consider its own estimate that the bills of small water systems are expected to go up by $5,630 per year, or $469.17 per month, to meet the new standard.

He concluded: “this case is remanded to the Department with orders to withdraw the current MCL and establish a new MCL.” Additionally, Judge Krueger directed the Department to comply with the Legislature’s directive to consider the economic feasibility of compliance, with particular attention to small water systems and their users. Lastly, he directed the Department to set the MCL as close as economically feasible to the public health goal of 0.02 ppb.  

“I’m grateful that the ruling in the case took into account the insurmountable compliance costs faced by impacted systems and appreciate CalMutuals for engaging small systems across the state on this matter. I also want to recognize Elizabeth Green of Antelope Park Mutual Water Company for her support,” said CalMutuals Member and Chrom6 Taskforce Chair, Owen Sharp of San Andreas Mutual Water Company. “In the regulatory arena, this decision was monumental.”

For more information, please contact Denise@CalMutuals.org

Mutual Water Companies Taking Advantage of Prop 1 Funding Opportunities

Due to CalMutuals’ work, for the first time in the state’s history, mutual water companies became eligible for bond funding through Proposition 1 “Water Bond.”

The State Water Resources Control Board has just released the status of funding for Proposition 1 programs and we are happy to see mutual water companies listed as bond recipients.  Mutual water companies have received over $2 million dollars in funding!  Click here to read the funding report.

Association staff, serving as volunteers, have assisted our members with submitting applications. There is still funding available! We encourage our members to contact us to learn more. Call our office at 714.449.8403 or email Denise Peralta Gailey at Denise@CalMutuals.org