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

On April 1, 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown directed the State Water Board to implement mandatory water reductions in urban areas to reduce potable urban water usage by 25% statewide. On May 5, 2015, the State Water Board adopted an emergency conservation regulation in accordance with the Governor's directive. The provisions of the emergency regulation went into effect in May 2015 and will remain in place until Feb. 2016.

Additionally on Nov. 13, Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order that intensifies the state’s drought response by extending emergency conservation regulations through October 2016 if drought persists through January.

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.