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.
This page chronicles our past legislative activity:
- Drought Resiliency
- Water Quality
Topic: Perchlorate Detection Level for Purposes of Reporting
The State Water Resource Control Board proposes to adopt a DLR for perchlorate of 0.002 mg/L to protect public health and maintain consistency with statutory requirements.
The SWRCB asserts that the potential benefits from this proposed regulatory action are to:
- Evaluate the performance of existing treatment to levels at least as low as 0.002 mg/L.
- Determine perchlorate occurrence in drinking water sources at or below 0.002 mg/L.
- Identify additional public health protection.
- Gather data to be able to determine the technical and economic feasibility of revising the current MCL.
- Clarify references to “Possible Contaminating Activity” and “Source Water Assessment” in existing regulations
Click on the following link to review the State Water Resources Control Board Perchlorate Information and Documentation:
Topic: CalMutuals Comment Letter about Governor Newsom Draft Resiliency Portfolio lacking Affordability
The Governor recently released his draft resiliency water portfolio which provides a comprehensive road map for progress on many fronts to achieve water supply reliability throughout the state but does not effectively define what it means to achieve “resiliency.” CalMutuals believes that vulnerability must be rated by the success of the smallest water system in terms of size and wealth. Please read our comment letter for our complete position.
Topic: University of California Riverside Affordability Study
University of California, Riverside has recently completed a study and held a symposium in which they attempted to gauge the affordability of water throughout the state mainly using their Water Expenditure Ratio calculation and discussion the possible implications of those findings.
Here Are A Few Highlights:
- The study attempts to take into account the proportion of residents’ income that is spent on water and sewage to determine whether water is affordable, and whether a Low-Income Rate Assistance (LIRA) program should be implemented.
- UCR makes a distinction to use the median household incomes of a specific block or neighborhood in order to get a more accurate idea of the burden shouldered by certain communities.
- Research showed that at least within Eastern Municipal Service District there is an inverse trend between higher incomes and lower ratios of incomes spent on water.
- Panelist Adan Ortega urged the group to consider the building blocks of affordability as a whole in order to fully understand the situation and understand that our choices guide affordability. The building blocks include the age of infrastructure, sources of water supply, cultural drivers, community standards, and confidence in the safety of the water supply.
- While expenditure ratios partially explain the trends, Mr. Ortega contended that the burdens placed on disadvantaged communities without access to healthy water cause them to make more expensive choices.
- A distrust of the tap water can cause disadvantaged households to spend 600x more on bottled water.
- While a LIRA program may be helpful for many communities, Mr. Ortega urges the state to consider the deeper forces driving affordability issues.
Topic: CalMutuals Comment Letter on SAFER 2020 Fund Expenditure Plan
Topic: SAFER Program Risk Assessment 2.0 Methodology
You can read the White Paper here.
- Consolidation and Small Systems
Topic: Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Advisory Group (SAFER)
SAFER Workshop 4/17: State Water Board Identifies At-Risk Systems and Potential Solutions to Assist
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.
- Drought Resiliency
- Water Quality
Topic: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFOA/PFAS)
In 2019 the legislature passed SB 756(Garcia) which required public water systems to monitor per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and upon identification notify customers on their water bill and publish the findings online. On February 6, 2020, under the authority of the Deputy Director of the Division of Drinking Water (DDW), California issued updated drinking water response levels of 10 parts per trillion for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and 40 parts per trillion for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid. Technology required to treat these contaminants at such small molecular levels is expensive and not economically feasible for many small systems and those serving disadvantaged communities.
Though PFAS and PFOA are the more well-understood members of this field of compounds, there are thousands more. In more recent developments, CalMutuals has begun to follow the possible effort to classify the entire range of compounds. PFAS is so broad a group that it is impossible to fully understand the regulatory implications of such a mandate. Instead, EPA should give careful consideration to individual PFAS, and focus on those that are the most persistent and pose the greatest human health risk. Furthermore, funding considerations especially for disadvantaged communities must be considered. The legislature must ensure that there is funding available for planning, testing, treatment, or obtaining alternative water sources to comply with any proposed PFAS standard. CalMutuals will continue to follow this issue.
- Consolidation and Small Systems