Survey Shows Strong Statewide Opposition to Proposed Tax on Drinking Water

  • by Heather Engel
  • Mar 13, 2018
  • News Releases

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A recent survey commissioned by the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) shows that Californians overwhelmingly oppose creating a new tax on drinking water to fund solutions for those disadvantaged communities that do not have access to safe drinking water and instead support using an alternative funding approach that includes existing funding sources.

The vast majority of the state’s residents have access to this basic necessity, but a small percentage of the population does not.  This unacceptable reality is a social issue for the State of California.  ACWA believes that making access to safe drinking water for all Californians should be a top priority for the State.

The Brown Administration is proposing a budget trailer bill that is intended to fund gaps in drinking water funding for disadvantaged communities that do not have access to safe drinking water.  ACWA agrees with that intent, but has an oppose-unless-amended position on the bill because it proposes a tax on drinking water. The budget trailer bill is based on SB 623, a two-year bill from 2017 and is currently before Senate and Assembly budget subcommittees.

Released this week, the survey shows, based on interviews with 1,000 likely voters throughout the state, that 73 percent of Californians somewhat or strongly oppose the idea of imposing a drinking water tax on residents and businesses.

ACWA and more than 135 public water agencies are advancing a more appropriate alternative – a package of existing and proposed funding sources that do not include a tax on drinking water. This package includes ongoing federal safe drinking water funds, state general obligation bonds and a minor augmentation from the state general fund ($34.4 million per year, which is less than 1/10th of 1 percent of the 2018-’19 proposed general fund), in addition to agricultural assessments proposed in the bill.

The survey found that 74 percent of Californians support using such funds instead of the proposed drinking water tax. The survey also revealed a significant display of bipartisanship, with Democrats and Republicans opposing the tax by nearly identical margins (69 percent opposition among Democrats surveyed, 73 percent opposition among Republicans). This also held true for Northern and Southern Californians opposing the tax (73 percent and 72 percent respectively), as well as for voters in different ethnic groups (white, black, Latino and Asian).

“ACWA is advocating for a funding package comprised of a variety of sources, both existing and proposed, including a relatively small amount of general fund money to resolve this issue without a tax on drinking water,” said ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn. “If state leaders are willing to make this societal problem a priority, general fund dollars can be part of the solution.”

The survey was conducted by Tulchin Research between Jan. 25-28, 2018.


Download PDF

Contact: Heather Engel, Director of Communications, (916) 441-4545 or (760) 217-0627 (cell)

Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
Comment letter: ACWA Comments on De-Energization

Agency: California Public Utilities Commission Subject: Association of California Water Agencies Comments on Proposed Additional Modified De-Energization Guidelines and Files […]

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 […]

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
CVWD Employee Recognized for Innovation and Efficiency

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — In February, the Cucamonga Valley Water District recognized Randy Stewart, Controls Analyst as the recipient of its […]

ACWA Webinar: Learn How to Apply for $830M SGIP Funds

ACWA is hosting a free webinar to discuss the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), which has $830 million in funding available […]

EPA Announces Implementation of the Water Reuse Action Plan

WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, at an event at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington, D.C., EPA Administrator Andrew […]

Warm, Dry Conditions Lead to Below Average Snowpack and Precipitation

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today conducted the third manual snow survey of 2020 at Phillips Station. […]

Congressional Leaders Headline ACWA D.C. Conference

A packed ACWA D.C. Conference featured U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-California) as the introductory speaker at the event’s Wednesday breakfast, […]

March 18 Deadline for Wildfire Resiliency and Recovery Grants

Proposition 84 Wildfire Resiliency and Recovery Planning Grants are eligible to local and regional governments (cities and counties) that were […]

PWD Adds Rebate, Boosts Existing Rebates

PALMDALE – The Palmdale Water District (PWD) Board of Directors voted 5-0 on Feb. 24 to offer a new rebate […]

Reclamation Outlines Initial Central Valley Project 2020 Water Allocation

The Bureau of Reclamation today announced the initial 2020 water supply allocation for Central Valley Project contractors. Allocation amounts are […]

ACWA Members Receive Reclamation Grants

Nine ACWA members agencies will receive funding through the latest round of WaterSMART grant awards from the Bureau of Reclamation, […]

Walnut Valley Water District Promotes STEAM During National Engineers Week

WALNUT – Walnut Valley Water District participated in the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) 69th annual National Engineers Week. […]

Interior Moves to Maximize Water Deliveries to CVP

The Department of the Interior announced Feb. 19 that it will maximize water deliveries for agricultural and urban use through […]

Public Comment Opens for Groundwater Sustainability Plans

Groundwater sustainability plans that have been submitted to the state are now online at the DWR SGMA Portal. Plans are […]


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 […]