Consolidation and Small Systems
Topic: Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Advisory Group (SAFER)
6.1.20 Update Consolidation is higher on the agenda compared to the previous release. There are many more places where the topic of regionalization is discussed. In addition to the number of mentions of this topic, there are quite a few edits that demonstrate the increased prioritization of system consolidation. In the second page list of actions permitted in the SAFER program, consolidation moves up to #2, from the bottom of the list previously. There are two short term objectives discussed in the paper, and consolidation is one of them, showing its increased desirability. Much later in the draft, on the plan priorities section on page 23 consolidation is again shown in a more central light than we have seen previously. Possibly a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or an understanding of the State Water Resource Control Board that regionalization and the extension of service is going to be a more plausible solution to many problems, consolidating is presented far more often in this document.
For more information and meeting schedule information go to the SAFER Group Advisory webpage at https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/safer/advisory_group.html
SAFER Workshop 4/17 :State Water Board Identifies At-Risk Systems and Potential Solutions to Assist
The State Water Resources Control Board recently held a teleconference focused on the needs assessment the Board is conducting in collaboration with the UCLA Luskin Center, as well as state, institutional and non-profit partners. The SAFER Advisory Group provides the State Water Board with constructive advice and feedback on the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Expenditure Plan required by SB 200. The SAFER advisory group works to advise The Water Board on their identification of water systems that are vulnerable to water quality issues and their allocation of Greenhouse Gas Funds to resolve those issues. The Water Board’s first round of needs analysis is being handled by the UCLA Luskin Center and is mainly seeking to identify water systems with less than 3,000 connections, with a focus on smaller community water systems, schools, and domestic or private well owners in order to align with the human right to water doctrine. CalMutuals is appreciative of the inclusion of many mutual water companies in the initial study. They relied on a broad framework of risk screening which balances a system’s exposure to risk like contaminated water, and their vulnerability, determined by their sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Some of their specific metrics used to classify water systems include monitoring and reporting violations, the presence of a single groundwater source, the absence of individual meters, and location in Disadvantaged communities (DAC).
Bills of Interest
AB 2296 (Quirk): State Water Resources Control Board: local primacy delegation: funding stabilization program.
Summary: AB 2296 authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board to delegate partial responsibility for the California Safe Drinking Water Act’s administration and enforcement by means of a local primacy delegation agreement. The bill would authorize the state board, for counties that have not been delegated primary responsibility as of January 1, 2021, to offer an opportunity for the county to apply for partial or primary responsibility if the state board determines that it needs assistance in performing administrative and enforcement activities, as specified. The bill would authorize the state board to approve the application for delegation if the state board determines that the local health officer is able to sufficiently perform the administrative and enforcement activities and would specify that a local primacy agency has all of the authority over designated public water systems as is granted to the state board.
AB 2093 (Gloria): Public records: writing transmitted by electronic mail: retention.
Summary: AB 2093 will remove the retention period required by statute or regulation, or established by the Secretary of State pursuant to the State Records Management Act, require a public agency, for purposes of the California Public Records Act, to retain and preserve for at least 2 years every public record, as defined, that is transmitted by electronic mail.
SB 1280 (Monning): Drinking water: consolidation and extension of service: at-risk water systems.
Summary: SB 1280 authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board to order consolidation between a receiving water system and an at-risk water system, as defined, upon receipt of a petition that substantially conforms to the specified-referenced policy adopted by the state board and that is either approved by the water system’s governing body or signed by at least 30% of the households served by the water system. For purposes of that provision, the bill would authorize the state board to contract with a technical assistance provider or appoint an administrator to provide information to a community regarding the petition process, to assist with the preparation of a petition, or to evaluate whether a water system is an at-risk water system.
Senate Bill 625 (Bradford) Central Basin Municipal Water District: Receivership
Summary: This bill dissolves the board of directors of the Central Basin Municipal Water District (CBMWD) and would provide that the November 3, 2020, election for directors of CBMWD shall not occur. The bill would require the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) to act as the receiver for CBMWD, would vest WRD with all necessary powers under the Municipal Water District Law of 1911 to take control of CBMWD, and would transfer all powers vested in the board of directors of CBMWD to the board of directors of WRD, except as specified. The bill would require CBMWD’s board of directors to surrender all control of CBMWD and its resources to WRD.