Budget Trailer Bills Outline Proposed $1 Billion in COVID-19 Water Arrearages Funding by ACWA Staff Jul 14, 2021 Member Submitted News Two identical budget trailer bills have been introduced in the Legislature that propose the statutory implementation details for $1 billion in funding to assist with COVID-19 related customer water and wastewater bill debt. One of the bills — AB 148 (Assembly Committee on Budget) and SB 148 (Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) — must be approved by both houses and signed by the Governor to be enacted. Which bill will move forward has not yet been identified. With the California Municipal Utilities Association playing a leadership role, ACWA and other statewide water associations have been advocating since February for $1 billion in funding to assist with COVID-19 related customer arrearages. ACWA has advocated for months regarding how the state should distribute the funding in an equitable and efficient manner to community water systems and wastewater treatment providers. Below is a summary of the details outlined in AB 148 and SB 148 for how the State Water Resources Control Board would administer the funding. A more complete summary is available online (member login required). The bill would create the “Water and Wastewater System Payments Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.” Within 90 days of receiving the funds, the State Water Board would survey community water systems to determine the total statewide arrearages and water enterprise revenue shortfalls. Within 90 days of receiving the funds, the State Water Board would adopt a resolution establishing guidelines for application requirements and reimbursement amounts. Within 14 days of adopting the resolution, the State Water Board would begin accepting applications from community water systems to assist customers who have past due bills from the COVID-19 pandemic relief period, which the bill would define as March 4, 2020 to June 15, 2021. If there are sufficient funds to reimburse the total amount of reported arrearages and revenue shortfalls of community water systems, the State Water Board would establish a program for funding wastewater arrearages and shortfalls with the remaining funds.