ACWA Supports Safe Drinking Water Solutions, But Taxing Water is Not the RIGHT Approach

  • by Kathleen Tiegs and Brent Hastey
  • Aug 23, 2017
  • Voices on Water

Today, a legislative committee in Sacramento will consider a bill that would impose the first-ever statewide tax on Californians’ water. The bill, SB 623 by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), addresses the very serious problem of ensuring safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities.  ACWA’s Board of Directors and members have made it a high priority to support bond funds and other drinking water funding to address this serious social and public health issue, but SB 623 which would impose a new tax on water is not the right approach. ACWA is actively opposing this bill.

ACWA and its members strongly support the goal of ensuring disadvantaged communities have access to safe drinking water. ACWA has been working to develop effective solutions and advance sensible funding strategies. We understand that without water for drinking, cooking and bathing, people’s lives hang in the balance. That is exactly why it is so important to find the RIGHT solution.

Although it is being called a “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fee,” make no mistake about it – this is a tax, not a fee. And what’s also troubling about the proposal is that its specifics weren’t released until the eleventh hour when lawmakers returned to Sacramento for the final weeks of session. The huge shift in public policy that this bill proposes deserves a full vetting in policy committees and beyond. The tax element in this bill has never been debated in a policy hearing.

ACWA opposes SB 623 for many reasons, not the least of which is that taxing Californians for something that is essential to life does not make sense and would work against water affordability. If passed, SB 623 opens the door to future taxes on water to solve other social issues, further eroding local affordability of water. Customers’ water bills could become vehicles for revenue streams for state-run programs. This bad policy would essentially turn hundreds of local water agencies into taxation entities that send money to Sacramento. SB 623 is just not sound policy.

There is a better solution. ACWA is working to advance an effective funding package that includes dollars from the state’s General Fund, ongoing funds from the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, and general obligation bond monies that have been approved by voters for the specific purpose of assisting disadvantaged communities. ACWA has been accused by SB 623 supporters of “stepping away from ag” but that is not the case. ACWA’s proposed funding package accommodates the “ag solution,” an assessment proposed by agriculture related to nitrates in groundwater.

We all want safe drinking water for every Californian, especially those living in disadvantaged communities. A lack of safe drinking water is a public health and social issue that will take focused leadership on the state level. SB 623 is not the answer.

ACWA will continue to fight for the right solution. Our state deserves it.

Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
Priority Issues Bulletin

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Recommendations for Resilient Headwaters

ACWA’s headwater documents showcase the importance of improved headwaters management. Benefits include increased water yield and quality, enhanced natural features […]

Improved Management of California’s Headwaters

  Improved Management of California’s Headwaters outlines ACWA’s updated Headwaters Policy Principles, which were adopted by the ACWA Board of […]

Comment letter: ACWA Comments on Draft Water Resilience Portfolio

To: Nancy Vogel, Director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program Subject: Association of California Water Agencies’ Comments regarding the Draft […]

Comment Letter: ACWA Joint Comments on Draft Policy for the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Draft Policy for Developing the Fund Expenditure Plan for the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water […]

ACWA’s Five-Year Strategic Plan

ACWA’s five-year strategic plan will afford the association the benefit of a broader forecast of resources, as well as the […]

Comment Letter: ACWA Comments on Urban Water Conservation Reporting

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Proposed Urban Water Conservation Reporting Regulations Description: ACWA provided public comment on the proposed urban […]

Federal Legislative Matrix

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Federal Regulatory Issues Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter: ACWA Comments on Public Health Goals for PFAS

Agency: Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment Subject: Public Health Goals for perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate Description: ACWA provided public comment […]

ACWA and CMUA Lead Service Line Inventory Webinar Materials

On Dec. 17, in cooperation with the State Water Resource Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water, ACWA and CMUA hosted […]

Comment Letter: ACWA and CMUA Comment on Proposed ELAP Regulations

Agencies: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Comments on Proposed Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) Regulations Description: ACWA and CMUA provided […]

Coalition Letter on Strategic Plan to Protect CA’s Coast and Ocean

To: Wade Crowfoot, Secretary for Natural Resources Subject: Comments on Strategic Plan to Protect California’s Coast and Ocean 2020-2025 Description: Comments […]

2020 ACWA Scholarship Toolkit

To assist  members in promoting available ACWA scholarship opportunities, the association has updated its Scholarship Toolkit for the 2020-’21 academic […]

ACWA 2019 Fall Conference Presentations

Presentations from ACWA’s 2019 Fall Conference & Exhibition held Dec. 3-6 in San Diego are available below. Please note that […]

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
GLENN-COLUSA IRRIGATION DISTRICT CELEBRATES CENTENNIAL

WILLOWS – This week marks the 100-year anniversary of the establishment of the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (GCID). The District’s water […]

Yuba Water Grants Help Local Agencies

MARYSVILLE – Four local agencies received a financial boost today with the help of Yuba Water Agency. Yuba County inundation […]

Yuba Water GM Curt Aikens announces retirement; Willie Whittlesey takes reins July 1

MARYSVILLE – After 23 years of dedicated service to Yuba Water Agency, General Manager Curt Aikens will retire in January […]

Roseville replenishes groundwater basin this fall and winter

Last November, both Roseville and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) entered into an agreement to transfer up to 6,000 […]

ACWA News for Feb. 14, 2020

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Historic Day for Groundwater Management in California

Big milestones in California water rarely come in single-day sizes. But Jan. 31 was one of those landmark days, and […]

Spotlight: Water Industry Jobs – Feb. 2020

New California Law Creates Pathway to Water Industry Jobs for Military Veterans After LT. Jose Martinez retired from the U.S. […]

February Priority Issues Update Available to Members

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

State Lowers Response Levels for PFOA, PFOS

The State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water (DDW) on Feb. 6 announced lower Drinking Water Response Levels […]

ACWA Testifies at PSPS Hearing; AB 2182 (Rubio) Introduced

On Feb. 11, ACWA-sponsored bill AB 2182 (Rubio) was introduced to address the unintended consequences of Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) […]

West Basin Launches New Program to Provide Free Water Saving Devices

CARSON – West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) announced the launch of its Change & Save program, a water […]

District Launches Innovative Website: What’s Your Water Footprint?

ROWLAND HEIGHTS – Rowland Water District has launched an exciting, innovative website focused on providing customers with user-friendly information and […]

Marin Water’s GM Receives National Environmental Achievement Award

MARIN – Marin Municipal Water District General Manager Ben Horenstein received a National Environmental Achievement Award for Distinguished Service, at […]

Water Agencies in Orange County Initiate Steps to Protect Public Health

FOUNTAIN VALLEY – Local water agencies in Orange County announced today they are voluntarily removing dozens of groundwater wells from […]

ACWA Applauds Gov. Newsom Comments in Support of Voluntary Agreements

SACRAMENTO – ACWA Executive Director Dave Eggerton issued the following statement in response to the announcement by California Gov. Gavin […]