CalMutuals establishes its legislative and regulatory priorities at its annual meeting. As legislation and regulations evolve, CalMutuals adapts and takes positions on specific proposed legislation and regulations through its Joint Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee.
The Committee includes the board of directors as well as members who are interested in participating, and/or are interested in specific topics such as water quality, governance or bonds and grants. The Joint Committee meets at least monthly, and more frequently as needed when the legislature is in session or a regulatory proceeding is underway.
From time to time, CalMutuals will help its members on local matters with regional agencies, usually when two or more members in a region feel like they are out of options and need more capacity to plan and execute a strategy.
If you are interested in participating in the Joint Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee meetings, please contact Susan Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Legislative Priorities and Focus:
- Safe Drinking Water and Economic Feasibility of CR6+ and PFAS legislation
- Mandated Consolidation of Small Systems
- Monitor Legislation to include language regarding Mutuals’ 501(c)3 Tax Status
- Legislation regarding groundwater sustainability planning
- Planned MCL Compliance Periods
- Alternatives to the Meter Tax
Current Regulatory Priorities:
- Economic Feasibility and Chromium 6 – upcoming standard
- Perfluoro Octane Sulfate (PFAS) – upcoming standard
- Perchlorate — upcoming standard
- SAFER Needs Assessment
If you are interested in specific bills and regulatory documents please check out the links below:
CalMutuals tracks a variety of bills related to water companies. We’ve consolidated the bills (and our position on the bills) into a quick list for your review.
Small Systems and Consolidation
Topic: SWRCB’s 2022 SAFER Program Drinking Water Needs Assessment
In late April the State Water Board Released this year’s Drinking Water Needs Assessment (Needs Assessment) that indicates which community water systems, state small water systems and domestic wells are considered failing, potentially failing, or at-risk of failing, based on water quality, accessibility, affordability, and technical, managerial and financial capacity.
Available online is a SAFER interactive dashboard that includes a map and list of assessed systems and the definitions and metrics for all risk indicators. CalMutuals encourages members to log in to your water system and view your profile. There is an additional interactive map for assessed SSWS and domestic wells.
Please call or email us if your company appears on the dashboard as being at risk. We would like to know if you believe that your company’s risk rating is warranted, and what you feel about some of the indicators, particularly arrearages (unpaid water bills). Please email Ceili Tuttle (email@example.com).
Topic: SWRCB Estimates Costs for Small System Compliance with SB 552 (Hertzberg)
As part of the 2022 SAFER Program Drinking Water Needs Assessment, the State Water Board estimated the costs associated with compliance with new laws governing drought planning by small water suppliers. The State Water Board is currently exploring alternatives to fund compliance with these requirements.
CalMutuals applauds the State Water Board for focusing the 2022 cost assessment on the cost for systems to comply with drought contingency requirements in SB 552. The support of the State Water Board in providing funding and technical assistance will be essential for compliance. In discussions with our members, we developed the following input with respect to the State Water Board’s cost estimates: CalMutuals’ SAFER Needs Assessment Comment Letter. The State Water Board is accepting comments on the 2022 SAFER Needs Assessment through June 6, 2022.
Topic: CalMutuals collaborates with CWSA in Study of Common Pitfalls When Large Water Systems Help Small Water Systems
CalMutuals collaborated with the Community Water systems Alliance (‘CWSA’) in developing a white paper after conducting a review of three Southern California water providers to gain an understanding of their efforts and programs directed at assisting small and/or disadvantaged water systems in their region. Participants were interviewed about a variety of topics related to their water system consolidations or assistance projects including collaboration, project funding, time management and resource allocation.
The review found that the state grant funding process can be difficult for some California water suppliers to access and a section of the paper includes recommendations for policy updates from these systems who have worked through it.
Read an introduction to the material, CWSA’s recent press release here.
Read Community Water Systems Alliance’s white paper here.
Affordability and Economic Feasibility
Topic: AB 2041 Addressing challenges of compliance with California drinking water standards
AB 2041 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia helps water systems that can not afford to comply with new drinking water regulations enforced by the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water. The bill helps to eliminate uncertainty for water suppliers that must comply with new drinking water standards presenting potential unmanageable costs. AB 2041’s passage would require the Division of Drinking Water to consider who can and can not afford to comply, and development of financial plans to help small and disadvantaged communities that may not be able to afford the required treatment within the compliance period.
Topic: AB 2054 Tax exemption status for mutual water companies
AB 2054 by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva attempts to secure California State recognition of the federal 501(C)12 tax-exempt status for mutual water companies.
Topic: SWRCB Preliminary Staff Report: New Hexavalent Chromium Drinking Water MCL
The State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water released a Draft Hexavalent Chromium (Cr6) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) Preliminary Staff Report in March 2022.
In 2017, CalMutuals helped to inform a state court decision that invalidated a 10 parts per billion maximum contaminant level (MCL) for chromium 6 approved in 2012 and ordered the state to conduct an economic feasibility analysis of a new standard. The state’s newly proposed MCL for chromium 6 lacks the required analysis. This is a dangerous precedent as DDW devises plans to set new standards for perchlorate, PFAS, dioxane and other contaminants of emerging concern. For further analysis of our points of concern, review our comment letter in response to the DDW’s preliminary staff report here.
The complete proposed regulation for Chromium will be released this summer for public comments. We will be encouraging our members to send comment letters raising issues that can impact mutual water companies and small water systems.
To get immediate alerts and template letters please email Ceili Tuttle (firstname.lastname@example.org).