Current Issues

ACWA engages on an array of legislative and regulatory issues to advocate on behalf of its members and to promote a more reliable and sustainable water system.

See the links below for a look at issues currently on ACWA’s radar.

State Budget / Fees

Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a proposed 2016-’17 budget today which would direct $323 million for emergency drought response, including $35 million for urban and agricultural water conservation.

The $122.6 billion general fund budget plan also calls for funding increases to education, health care and state infrastructure, including upgrades to the Natural Resources Agency building. The budget also proposes putting $2 billion into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, boosting it to 65% of its constitutional target.

Urban Water Conservation Emergency Regulation

As directed by Gov. Jerry Brown's Executive Order (B-37-16), on May 18, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) approved modifications to the current emergency conservation regulation to reflect improved water supply conditions and allow for more local decision making. 

The modified regulation replaces the existing state-imposed mandatory conservation standards with a locally driven, supply-based assessment process.  The new regulation is effective June 1, 2016 through January 2017.

The State Water Board first adopted a mandatory emergency drought urban water conservation regulation on May 5, 2015, in response to Brown’s April 1, 2015 Executive Order which called for statewide water use reduction of 25% compared to water use in 2013.

Long-Term Water Conservation EO B-37-16 Policy Framework Report

In response to the Governor’s declaration of a drought emergency in 2013 and subsequent executive orders (especially Executive Order B-37-16 entitled “Making Conservation a California Way of Life” (EO B-37-16) the Department of Water Resources (DWR), State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), and other parts of the Administration are developing a long-term conservation policy framework that covers both the agricultural and urban sectors, including a process to develop new permanent urban water use targets based on strengthened water use efficiency standards and strengthened water shortage contingency plans, and enhanced leak detection and repair requirements. 

Proposition 1 Implementation

The $7.545 billion water bond approved overwhelmingly by California voters in November 2014 is expected to provide a significant infusion of funding for water projects and programs at a pivotal time in California water.  But before bond dollars from Proposition 1 can be disbursed for actual projects, each state agency tasked with administering a competitive grant or loan process must develop and finalize guidelines for soliciting and evaluating project proposals. 

SGMA Implementation

California enacted landmark legislation in 2014 known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The legislation provides a framework for sustainable management of groundwater supplies by local authorities, with a limited role for state intervention only if necessary to protect the resource.

The act requires the formation of local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) that must assess conditions in their local water basins and adopt locally-based management plans. The act provides substantial time – 20 years – for GSAs to implement plans and achieve long-term groundwater sustainability. It protects existing surface water and groundwater rights and does not impact current drought response measures.