NEWS WORTH NOTING: Governor signs bill to provide disadvantaged communities safe, affordable drinking water; Costa applauds House and Senate passage of water infrastructure bills; A community guide for evaluating future urban water demand

Governor signs bill to provide disadvantaged communities safe, affordable drinking water

From the Office of Senator Lois Wolk:

WolkToday Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed a measure by State Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) to help failing public water systems provide services in disadvantaged communities throughout California.

Wolk’s Senate Bill 552 enables the state to contract with third party administrators with the expertise to help provide customers of these failing water systems with safe and affordable drinking water.

“All Californians have a right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water suitable for human consumption, cooking, and sanitation. Yet, over 500 public water systems in this state have consistently failed to meet basic water quality standards, leaving the communities served by these systems without access to drinkable water,” Wolk said. “SB 552 works to rectify this public health injustice by enabling the state to hire an outside administrator whose expertise and efficiency can help guarantee safe, and clean water and step in when all else has failed.”

Wolk’s Senate Bill 552 would authorize the State Water Resources Control Board to contract with third party administrators to assume full management and control of these failing public water systems.

SB 552 is sponsored by the State Water Board, and is supported by groups including the California League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Sierra Club, and the Community Water Center.

“SB 552 grants the State Water Board an important tool to help ensure all Californians have access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water,” said Deborah Ores, an attorney and legislative advocate with the Community Water Center. “This bill will allow the Board to order a water system which is consistently failing to provide safe, clean, and affordable drinking water to accept a contract administrator who will be able to immediately implement a number of measures to help ratepayers, and also to create a long-term sustainability plan for the system.”

Costa Applauds House and Senate Passage of Water Infrastructure Bills

From the Office of Congressman Jim Costa:

US_Rep._Jim_Costa_(D-CA)Today, Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the House passed the Water Resources Development Act (H.R. 5303) to complete water infrastructure projects in California and throughout the United States. On September 15, the Senate passed a similar version of the legislation, S. 2848.

“The Water Resources Development Act has big wins for California and specifically, in the San Joaquin Valley, there are important water projects that will finally move forward if this legislation becomes law,” said Rep. Costa. “In addition to language that authorizes a feasibility study for the Merced Streams Group, there is also modifying language in the bill that would provide for Merced Irrigation District to advance funds so it could complete a study to evaluate raising the spillway gates at New Exchequer Dam. An additional 10,000 acre-feet of water would be made available annually to serve Merced County if the spillway gates are raised at New Exchequer Dam. This is the type of legislation we need to help provide relief to the farmers and communities in California that have been unfairly impacted by five years of drought conditions.”

Costa continued saying, “The drought in California is not over, nor has this Congress addressed the underlying reasons for the disproportionate impact on San Joaquin Valley communities. We still need a California water bill enacted, which will create a rational, balanced water policy in the short- and long-term that benefits California’s communities and improves its environment.”

Merced County Impacts

  • The bill authorizes a feasibility study for the Merced Streams Group project that was originally authorized in 1944 and has not yet been completed. Since 1997, 8 floods in the region have caused significant damage to communities in Merced County. This study, when complete, will evaluate and provide recommendations to move beyond the substandard 50-year flood planning to a much higher standard of flood protection.
  • Expedited completion of the Lower San Joaquin River flood risk management report.

California funding, reports and projects

  • $1.5 billion in Flood Risk Management funds for the American River and West Sacramento projects
  • $20 million in Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk reduction funds to San Diego County
  • $69.5 million in Flood Risk Management, Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation funds for the South San Francisco Bay shoreline
  • $375 million in Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation funds for the LA River
  • Expedited completion of the report for the Sacramento River Flood Control System
  • Authorization of the feasibility studies for the Cache Creek Settling Basin, the Coyote Valley Dam, the Del Rosa Channel, the Mission-Zanja Channel, and the Soboba Indian Reservation

A Community Guide for Evaluating Future Urban Water Demand

From the Pacific Institute:

pacific instituteA Community Guide for Evaluating Future Urban Water Demand provides communities, environmental groups, ratepayer advocates, and anyone interested in sustainable water supply planning with the knowledge and tools they need to understand water demand forecasts. …

The guidebook explains how water utilities forecast long-term water demand and reviews some of the approaches and methods commonly used by utilities and consultants. It also provides a set of best practices that can be used to create more accurate and robust long-range water demand forecasts. Some of these best practices include accounting for water conservation and efficiency improvements and land use changes, as well as ensuring transparency and meaningful stakeholder engagement.

For more information or to download the guidebook, click here.


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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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