Statewide Safe Drinking Water Funding Solution

On July 24, 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 200 (Monning) into law, creating the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, which provides the legal structure and process for funding safe drinking water solutions for disadvantaged communities in California that currently do not have that access.

The California Legislature had previously passed the bill in early July 2019.

The governor’s signing of SB 200 follows the June 27 enactment of the 2019-’20 State Budget, which sets forth the first part of the funding solution.  The State Budget provides $130 million for Fiscal Year 2019-’20 for safe drinking water solutions in disadvantaged communities that do not have access to safe drinking water.

In the first year, Fiscal Year 2019-’20, the safe drinking water funding solution will be funded with $100 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) and $30 million from the General Fund.

After the first year, the funding will be 5% of the GGRF continuously appropriated – capped at $130 million per year.  The agreement includes General Fund funding as a backstop if 5% of the GGRF is less than $130 million in any year.  The funding will sunset in 2030.

The solution does not include a water tax.

In addition to Gov. Newsom, many legislators on both sides of the aisle played key roles in making this agreement possible.  To name just a few of those, Senator Monning (D-Carmel) has championed this issue from the beginning.  Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee Chair Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) encouraged stakeholders to come forward with ideas for how to solve the problem.  Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) authored the ACWA and California Municipal Utilities Association co-sponsored SB 669, which proposed a Safe Drinking Water Trust.  Discussions on that bill helped inform the broader discussion regarding solutions.

ACWA staff appreciate the guidance on this critical issue from the ACWA Board of Directors, the ACWA DAC Drinking Water Initiative Task Force, and the State Legislative Committee and its Safe Drinking Water Funding Working Group. ACWA also appreciates the tireless legislative outreach support from member agencies.

Why is there a need for safe drinking water funding in California?

  • Most Californians have access to safe drinking water, but some disadvantaged communities do not
  • Lack of access to safe drinking water is a public health issue the state must address
  • A funding gap exists for operations & maintenance (O&M) costs for community water systems that treat water
  • In general, O&M costs cannot be financed using existing state and federal drinking water funding sources
  • In some situations, consolidation of a community water system may be the most effective solution
  • A financial solution is needed for O&M and consolidation costs in disadvantaged communities that can complement existing federal and state funding sources for capital costs.

Why is a statewide water tax not the right approach?

  • It isn’t sound policy to tax a resource that is essential to life
  • A regressive statewide tax on local water bills is in conflict with keeping water affordable for all Californians
  • It would be highly inefficient to require more than 3,000 local water agencies to serve as tax collectors for the state
  • The combined local administrative costs would exceed the combined statewide water tax revenue collected with local water bills

Californians Oppose a Drinking Water Tax

Tulchin Research conducted a statewide poll in early 2018 based on a previous drinking water tax proposal. That poll showed that 73% of likely voters oppose a new tax on drinking water, both initially and even after hearing more information.

Additionally, 74% would prefer using existing funding sources rather than establishing a new tax on drinking water.

For more on the polling, please read the polling results memo or see our news release.

Tools & Resources

2019 ACWA & Coalition Letters

2019 Media Coverage

2018 Coalition Letters

Questions

For questions about the agreement or Conference Committee action, please contact ACWA Deputy Executive Director for Government Relations Cindy Tuck at (916) 441-4545.

For media inquiries, please contact ACWA Director of Communications Heather Engel at (916) 441-4545.

 

Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
Comment Letter: Proposed Unregulated Contaminated Monitoring Rule

Agency: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Subject: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Revisions to the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule for Public Water […]

Comment Letter: Informational Drought Hearing

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

2020 Year in Review

2020 was an unexpected year and the ACWA community successfully adapted to new stay-at-home orders while keeping essential water professionals […]

Coalition Letter: Cross-Connection Control Policy Handbook

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Cross-Connection Control Policy Handbook Letter excerpt: The following comments represent agreed-upon principles from […]

Coalition Letter: SB 223 (Dodd)

To: The Honorable Ben Allen Subject: SB 223 (Dodd) – Discontinuation of Residential Water Service for Nonpayment Position: Oppose [April 20, 2021 […]

PFAS Toolkit

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

Coalition Letters: Water Data and Science Funding

To: Senator Merkley and Senator Murkowski and Congresswoman Pingree and Congressman Joyce: Subject: Water Data & Science Program Funding Letter […]

Comment Letter: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions

Agency: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Subject: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions; Delay […]

Coalition Letter: SB 222 – Water Rate Assistance Program

To: Honorable Ben Hueso, Chair, Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Communications Subject: SB 222 (Dodd) – Water Rate Assistance […]

Coalition Letter: SB 223 – Discontinuation of Residential Water Service

To: Honorable Ben Hueso, Chair, Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Communications Subject: SB 223 (Dodd) – Discontinuation of Residential […]

Coalition Letter: Advanced Clean Fleets Workshop

Agency: California Air Resources Board Subject: Coalition Comments on the March 2nd and 4th, 2021 Advanced Clean Fleets Workshops Letter excerpt: […]

Coalition Letter: Biden Infrastructure Proposal

Subject: National Ag, Water Coalition Highlights Need for More Water Investments in Biden Infrastructure Proposal Letter excerpt: Recognizing the constructive […]

Comment Letter: Water Rights Climate Change Report

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: ACWA Comments on Water Rights Climate Change Report Letter excerpt: The Association of California Water […]

Joint Letter: American Rescue Plan

To: The Honorable Janet Yellen Subject: American Rescue Plan Treasury Guidance Letter excerpt: Our nation’s water providers appreciate your strong leadership on […]

Coalition Letter: Proposed Clean Fleets Rule

Agency: California Air Resources Board Subject: Association of California Water Agencies and California Association of Sanitation Agencies Comments on Proposed Clean […]

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
ACWA Presents Leadership Award to Robert Dugan and Jeff Harris

SACRAMENTO – The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today presented its 2021 Excellence in Water Leadership Award to the […]

OCWD Receives 2021 Clair Hill Water Agency Award for Excellence

SACRAMENTO – The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today presented the prestigious Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award for […]

ACWA Awards Scholarships to Four California College Students

SACRAMENTO – The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) awarded $17,000 in scholarships to four undergraduate students enrolled at California […]

ACWA’s John P. Fraser Water Leaders Fellowship Awarded to Brad Arnold

SACRAMENTO – The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today presented its second annual John P. Fraser Water Leaders Fellowship […]

ACWA Virtual Spring Conference Still Underway After Technical Difficulties

A catastrophic failure in an outside vendor’s computer server on May 12 forced the delay of ACWA’s 2021 Spring Virtual […]

Virtual Let’s Talk H2O! Set for May 19 to Discuss PWD’s Hazard Mitigation Plan and Survey

PALMDALE – To provide customers with information about its Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) and urge them to take a survey […]

LADWP Continues to Advance Landmark Mono Basin Restoration Project

Last month, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Board of Commissioners voted to approve the Mitigated Negative […]

U.S. Treasury Department Releases Directive on American Rescue Plan Funds

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday released an Interim Final Rule on the implementation of the Coronavirus […]

ACWA Responds to Expansion of Drought Proclamation, Proposed Relief

SACRAMENTO – Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Executive Director Dave Eggerton issued the following statement in response to Gov. […]

Valley District Kicks off Local Headwaters Resiliency Partnership

SAN BERNARDINO – On May, 4, 2021, the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District Board of Directors announced the establishment […]

ACWA Spring Conference Explores Top California Water Issues

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) will host its 2021 Virtual Spring Conference & Exhibition May […]

ACWA Region Election Process Underway for 2022-’23 Term

ACWA’s region election process is underway to determine the boards of each of the 10 regions, including the chairs, vice […]

FID Expanding Groundwater Recharge Projects with $1.2 Million DWR Grant

FRESNO – Fresno Irrigation District’s (FID) Savory Basin Project (Project) was awarded $1.2 million included in a total award of […]

Walnut Valley Water District Launches Mandarin Conservation Workshops

WALNUT  – To increase water use efficiency, Walnut Valley Water District (WVWD) in partnership with the Metropolitan Water District of […]

DWA doubles water bill assistance to $200 a year

Many Desert Water Agency customers have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to pay their bills. […]