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 (


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.



Topic: Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Advisory Group (SAFER)

SAFER Program: The SAFER program and the SAFER Advisory Group are a set of tools established by SB 200 intended to safeguard the usage of funds to ensure access to safe and resilient water supplies for everyone. CalMutuals regularly follows the meetings that the Water Boards hold as well as the Advisory Group meetings in which members of the advisory group provide input to staff proposals. The advisory group is made up of statewide representatives that may range from hands-on community leaders to local state elected officials

For more information and meeting schedule information go to the SAFER Group Advisory webpage at


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