Long-Term Water Conservation Bills Enacted: What’s Next for Urban Water Suppliers?

On May 31, Governor Brown signed two long-term water conservation bills, AB 1668 (Friedman) and SB 606 (Hertzberg).

Together, the two bills require the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) and the Department of Water Resources (DWR), to establish long-term urban water use efficiency standards for urban retail water suppliers (3,000 svc conns or ≥3,000 AF) by June 30, 2022. Those standards will include components for indoor residential use, outdoor residential use, water losses and other uses.

Below is an overview of the two water-efficiency bills:

AB 1668 (Friedman)

  • Outlines reporting requirements for water suppliers and specifies penalties for violations.
  • Establishes water use objectives, standards and reporting requirements for indoor and outdoor residential water use, commercial, industrial, and institutional (CII) landscape areas, water losses, and other unique local uses.
  • Provides options for meeting water use objectives if there are reasons why a utility can not meet the required 50 gallons per person per day goal by 2030.
  • Revises the Agricultural Water Management Planning Act to increase the efficiency of agricultural water use.
  • Requires DWR, the State Water Board, and other relevant stakeholders to identify small water suppliers and rural communities that may be at risk of drought and water shortage vulnerability and provide recommendations for drought planning.

SB 606 (Hertzberg)

  • Outlines requirements for urban water suppliers, and specifies penalties for violations. The bill contains distinct provisions on water shortage planning and water loss reporting for urban wholesale water suppliers and establishes a bonus incentive for potable reuse water.
  • Establishes urban water use objectives and reporting requirements for urban water suppliers by requiring an urban water supplier to calculate an aggregate urban water use objective.
  • Substantially revises the requirements under the Urban Water Management Planning Act. Specifically, requires urban water suppliers to conduct annual drought risk assessments and to submit an annual report to DWR.
  • Requires the adoption of a water shortage contingency plan, which must include certain elements, annual drought risk assessment procedures, and standard water shortage levels.

What’s Next?

DWR and the State Board will be holding joint workshops on AB 1668/SB 606 implementation. More information on the meetings is expected soon.

Key Deadlines for Urban Water Suppliers:

June 1, 2019
Submit annual water shortage assessment to DWR.

November 1, 2023, and annually thereafter:
Deadline to calculate urban water use objective and report to DWR
Deadline to calculate previous years’ actual urban water use and report to DWR.

January 1, 2024
Submit to DWR a supplement to adopted 2020 plan.

January 1, 2025
Abide by standard for indoor residential water use of 52.5 gcpd.

January 1, 2027
Provide narrative in addition to supplement that describes water demand management measures that supplier plans to implement to achieve its 2027 urban water use objective.

January 1, 2030
Abide by standard for indoor residential water use of 50 gpcd.

For more information, please contact Denise@CalMutuals.org

Changes to Drinking Water Operator Certification Program

In 2014, the responsibility of California’s Drinking Water Operator Certification Program (DWOCP) was transferred from the California Department of Public Health to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) resulting in changes to the program. Those changes include the addition of Administrative Civil Liabilities (in the form of fines or other actions) for Water Treatment and Water Distribution Operators.

Penalties range from $100 per day to $5,000 for each violation, depending on the type of infraction.

Violations may include but are not limited to:

  • Operating without a valid or expired certification of the appropriate grade;
  • Use of fraud or deception in the course of operating a water distribution system;
  • Willful or negligent  acts that cause or allow a violation of the federal or California Safe Drinking Water Act or the regulations or standards adopted pursuant to either act.

For questions, please contact the Drinking Water Operator Certification Program at (916) 449-5611 or e-mail them at dwopcertprogram@waterboards.ca.gov

California Safe Drinking Water Data Challenge

California is in the process of implementing the Open and Transparent Water Data Act (AB 1755) to publish water and ecosystem information in an open data format.

On June 26th, the Water Foundation in partnership with other organizations, launched the California Safe Drinking Water Data Challenge to provide stakeholders an opportunity to engage with the open data portal and submit feedback, advice, and suggestions for consideration as AB 1755 is implemented.

We encourage our members to participate and provide valuable input on what data is needed to help identify and deploy drinking water solutions for small systems.

For more information on this program, contact Denise Peralta Gailey at denise@calmutuals.org or call us at (714) 449-8403.

For complete information about the Challenge. click here.

Governor Brown Releases 12th & Final May Budget Revise

On May 11th, Governor Brown released his 12th and final proposed May Budget Revise noting that revenues are up by $8.8 billion.

The Governor proposes utilizing the additional revenues to pay for higher program costs, ongoing Medi-Cal, Cal Grants, child care, In-Home Supportive Services and foster care commitments. The May Revise proposes spending the remaining funds on $3 billion in one-time General Fund spending, focused in 3 areas: Infrastructure ($2 billion), Homelessness ($359 million), Mental Health ($312 million) and increasing the State’s rainy day fund.

The Governor cautioned that the state is nearing its longest recession in history  and emphasized the challenge in attempting to manage the State’s budget volatility; which is heavily dependent on personal income tax. He noted that 15,000 wealthy Californians pay 25% of the personal income tax receipts.

To download the Revised Budget Summary, click here.

Water Audit Validator (WAV) Certificate Program

Senate Bill 555 requires all urban retail water suppliers in California to submit a validated water loss audit to the California Department of Water Resources. Last year, the validation requirement was fulfilled by the Water Loss Technical Assistance Program (Water Loss TAP), which was funded by the State.

However, since there was not an extension of the Water Loss TAP, urban retail water suppliers submitting water loss audits in 2018 must fulfill the validation requirements through one of two methods per DWR’s Validated Water Loss Audit Reporting Regulations:

  1. Have the validation completed by an individual who can demonstrate he or she has conducted water loss audits in accordance with the method specified in Section 638.2, and has conducted a minimum of 10 Level 1 audit validations in accordance with the Water Research Foundation Level 1 Water Audit Validation: Guidance Manual 4639A
    (This option will likely require the hiring of a technical expert consultant),


  2. Have the validation completed by an individual certified by the CA-NV AWWA as a water audit validator.

After July 1, 2019, the validations can only be completed by an individual certified by the CA-NV AWWA as a water audit validator. Any interested person (such as utility staff or consultants) can apply to receive the certification. (Note: The validator cannot not be involved in the preparation of the audit.)

Any members requiring assistance in complying with SB 555, or if you have additional questions, please contact Denise@CalMutuals.org or call (714) 673-0005.

CalMutuals Participates in Water Affordability Symposium

CalMutuals Executive Director, Adan Ortega, participated in a panel discussion during the Water Affordability Symposium on April 5th in Sacramento.

The Symposium featured leading researchers and national experts on innovative affordability practices.

The Latest on 1,2,3-TCP

Last year, the State Water Resources Control Board’s (State Board) adopted a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP) at 5 parts per trillion (ppt). On January 31, the State Board held a meeting to provide an overview of monitoring and testing requirements.

Summary of New Requirements for Community and Nontransient-Noncommunity Water Systems:

  • Monitor sources for 1,2,3-TCP and comply with the 5ppt MCL;
  • Report all sampling results;
  • Data substitution: 1,2,3-TCP water quality monitoring data collected within the two years prior to the date of the MCL may be eligible for initial monitoring requirements;
  • Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) has been identified as the Best Available Technology (BAT);
  • Water Systems that violate the MCL are required to use specific Consumer Confidence Report languag

For a complete list of requirements, please visit the Division of Drinking Water’s webpage by clicking here.

Initial Quarterly Sampling:

  • Initial monitoring began in January, 2018 (January, February, and March);
  • Data substitution results from groundwater samples collected during 2016 and 2017 may be eligible for up to three of the four quarters of initial monitoring;
  • Each individual source must be sampled – composite samples are not allowed.

Testing waivers are handled by the local Drinking Water Office or Local Primacy Agency.

To download a copy of the presentation, click here.

Upcoming AWWA Classes Throughout California

The California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) has just announced several educational opportunities across the state.

Workshops include:

  • Business Writing for Water Professionals
  • Backflow Refresher
  • Water Use Efficiency Grade 2
  • Cross Connection
  • Budget 101
  • Chloramines, Colorimeters & Sample Collection
  • Water Sampling
  • Use and Care of the Hach PCII

For the full listing of 2018 courses (and to register for a workshop), click here.

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.

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.