Today's Law As Amended

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AB-134 Safe Drinking Water Restoration.(2019-2020)



SECTION 1.

 Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 117200) is added to Part 12 of Division 104 of the Health and Safety Code, to read:

CHAPTER  8. Safe Drinking Water Restoration
Article  1. General Provisions
117200.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Section 106.3 of the Water Code declares that it is the policy of the state that every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.
(b) According to the board, as of November 2017, there are approximately 300 public water systems in the State of California that are chronically serving contaminated water to their customers and are operationally deficient in violation of public health regulations.
(c) In addition, other public water systems suffer from contamination that is emerging or expanding, putting their communities’ safe drinking water supply at growing risk.
(d) To ensure that the right of every Californian to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes is protected, it is in the interest of the State of California to identify where Californians are at high risk of lacking reliable access to safe drinking water or are known to lack reliable access to safe drinking water, whether they rely on a public water system, state small water system, or domestic well for their potable water supply.
(e) Long-term sustainability of drinking water infrastructure and service provision is necessary to secure safe drinking water for all Californians and therefore it is in the interest of the state to discourage the proliferation of new, unsustainable public water systems and state small water systems, to prevent waste, and to encourage consolidation and service extension when feasible.
117201.
 Unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions govern this chapter:
(a) “Administrator” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116686.
(b) “At-risk water system” means a water system that consistently fails to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water, is at substantial risk of failing to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water, or suffers from unhealthy levels of copper or lead in its water.
(c) “Assessment of funding need” means the assessment of funding need for state financial assistance to provide safe drinking water adopted by the board pursuant to Section 116769.
(d) “Board” means the State Water Resources Control Board.
(e) “Community water system” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275.
(f) “Disadvantaged community” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275.
(g) “Domestic well” means a groundwater well used to supply water for the domestic needs of an individual residence or water system that is not a public water system and that has no more than four service connections.
(h) “Eligible applicant” means a public water system, including, but not limited to, a mutual water company, a public utility, a public agency, including, but not limited to, a local educational agency that owns or operates a public water system, a nonprofit organization, a federally recognized Indian tribe, a state Indian tribe listed on the Native American Heritage Commission’s California Tribal Consultation List, an administrator, or a groundwater sustainability agency.
(i) “Fund” means the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund established pursuant to Section 116767.
(j) “Public agency” means a state entity, county, city, special district, or other political subdivision of the state.
(k) “Public water system” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275.
(l) “Regional engineer” means the chief of each of the board’s regional offices for the Division of Drinking Water.
(m) “Replacement water” includes, but is not limited to, bottled water, vended water, or point-of-use or point-of-treatment units.
(n) “Safe drinking water” means drinking water that meets primary and secondary drinking water standards and applicable regulations and does not contain unhealthy levels of copper or lead.
(o) “State small water system” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275.
Article  2. Assessment and Planning
117210.
 (a) The board, upon adoption of the assessment of funding need, shall convey to each regional engineer a list of at-risk water systems in that region and additional information regarding at-risk water systems and communities reliant on domestic wells that do not supply an adequate or reliable supply of safe drinking water.
(b) A regional engineer shall review additional information generated from analyses of drinking water deficiencies and wastewater deficiencies, including, but not limited to, analyses conducted pursuant to Sections 56425, 56430, and 65302.10 of the Government Code.
(c) By December 31 of each year, the board shall review the assessment of funding need and shall prioritize the public water systems, community water systems, state small water systems, and domestic wells with the most urgent need for state financial assistance, in light of the following factors:
(1) Severity of the public health threat.
(2) The extent to which the community served by the public water system is a disadvantaged community.
(3) The number of people served by the water system.
(4) Technical, managerial, and financial capacity of the entity that operates the water system.
(d) The assessment of funding need and priorities shall consider all information submitted to the board in furtherance of the board’s duty to complete the assessment of funding need.
117211.
 (a) (1) By January 1, 2021, the board, in consultation with local health officers and other relevant stakeholders, shall use available data to make available a map of aquifers that are at high risk of containing contaminants and that exceed primary federal and state drinking water standards that are used or likely to be used as a source of drinking water for a state small water system or a domestic well. The board shall update the map at least annually based on any newly available data. The board shall make available a map of high-risk areas in a region to each regional engineer.
(2) The board shall make the map of high-risk areas, as well as the data used to make the map, publicly accessible on its internet website in a manner that does not identify exact addresses or other personal information and that complies with the Information Practices Act of 1977 (Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1798) of Title 1.8 of Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code). The board shall notify local health officers and county planning agencies of high-risk areas within their jurisdictions.
(b) (1) By January 1, 2021, a local health officer or other relevant local agency shall provide to the board all results of, and data associated with, water quality testing performed by certified laboratories for a state small water system or domestic well that was collected after January 1, 2015, and that is in the possession of the local health officer or other relevant local agency.
(2) By January 1, 2022, and by January 1 of each year thereafter, all results of, and data associated with, water quality testing performed by a certified laboratory for a state small water system or domestic well that is submitted to a local health officer or other relevant local agency shall also be submitted directly to the board in electronic format.
(c) A map of high-risk areas developed pursuant to this article is not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).
117212.
 (a) Each regional engineer shall arrange for a comprehensive analysis of each at-risk water system in the region of the drinking water regional office to be completed within two years of the board identifying the at-risk water system in the assessment of funding need. The regional engineer may combine more than one failed water system in the region for the purposes of a comprehensive analysis.
(b) The regional engineer shall post a comprehensive analysis on the board’s internet website. A comprehensive analysis shall review an at-risk water system’s water supply and infrastructure and the entity that operates the at-risk water system. A comprehensive assessment shall include all of the following:
(1) The sources and quality of its water supply, including, the primary and secondary contaminants in each of the at-risk water system’s water sources.
(2) The condition of its physical infrastructure.
(3) The technical, managerial, and financial qualifications of the entity that operates the water system.
(4) Alternative water supplies that comply with safe drinking water standards adopted pursuant to this part and a method to connect the failed system to the alternative water supplies.
(5) One or more options for resolving the problems that cause or caused the water system to be at-risk and making the water system sustainable over the long term. The options shall address, to the extent necessary, problems with physical infrastructure, water supply quality, and governance of the at-risk water system. The options shall address opportunities to consolidate public water systems, community water systems, state small water systems, and domestic wells that may benefit from the proposed solution.
(6) Engagement of members of the community served by the at-risk water system to improve understanding of the at-risk water system’s problems, the options for addressing the problems, and the challenges in overcoming the problems.
(7) Consideration of the unique nature of the community served by the at-risk water system, including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) The community’s economic conditions.
(B) Community member reliance on languages other than English and their immigration status.
(C) Physical proximity to other water systems and communities.
(D) The community’s willingness and capacity to afford and support the operation and maintenance of new water infrastructure.
(E) Technical, managerial, and financial capacity of the entity that operates the at-risk water system.
(8) Local agency actions that would be required to support each proposed solution, including consolidations, service extensions, and other organizations or sphere of influence updates pursuant to Division 3 (commencing with Section 56000) of Title 5 of the Government Code.
(9) Consultation with the Office of Sustainable Water Solutions within the board, any local primacy agency with authority over the at-risk water system, and representatives of and community members served by the at-risk water system.
(c) A comprehensive analysis shall include a proposed plan that includes a set of options to address several problems either concurrently or sequentially that ensure the long-term sustainability of the at-risk water system.
(d) A regional engineer may do the following:
(1) Contract or otherwise provide funding to one or more of the following entities to complete the comprehensive analysis:
(A) Nonprofit organizations.
(B) Water agencies.
(C) Counties.
(D) Cities.
(E) For-profit businesses, such as engineering consulting firms.
(2) Organize a local advisory committee that may include local residents of the at-risk water system, elected officials of local public agencies, local water systems, business owners, or farmers.
(3) Organize a strike team that combines the entities identified in subparagraphs (A) to (E), inclusive, of paragraph (1) to provide diverse expertise, experience, and perspective relating to topics that may include engineering, government, administration, water management, public outreach, and education.
(e) Any water agency, including a special district, may act pursuant to a contract entered into under paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) outside of the jurisdiction of the agency.
Article  3. Plan Implementation
117220.
 A regional engineer shall review a comprehensive analysis submitted in accordance with Section 117212 and develop and submit a recommendation to the board as to the preferred options or plan presented by the comprehensive analysis within 60 days of the submission of the comprehensive analysis to the regional engineer. A regional engineer may adjust the options or plan the regional engineer recommends to the board as necessary. The board shall post the recommendations of a regional engineer to the board on the board’s internet website.
117221.
 (a) Within 90 days of receiving the regional engineer’s recommendation pursuant to Section 117220, the board shall consider the comprehensive analysis and the regional engineer’s recommendation at a public hearing. The board shall request recommendations from all divisions of the board to ensure coordination with other related water quality and water resource programs. The Public Utilities Commission may provide input to the board for the purposes of this section if a regional engineer’s recommendation involves an at-risk water system subject to the commission’s jurisdiction. The board shall review a recommendation in light of the recommendation’s likelihood of success in creating a stable and sustainable supply of safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.
(b) Based on the recommendations described in subdivision (a), the board shall adopt and provide for a sustainable plan for restoring safe drinking water. The board may contract with one or more of the following entities to implement the sustainable plan for restoring safe drinking water:
(1) Nonprofit organizations.
(2) Water agencies.
(3) Counties.
(4) Cities.
(5) For-profit businesses, such as engineering consulting firms.
(c) The board shall coordinate implementation of the sustainable plan for restoring safe drinking water by engaging the affected community, local governments, water agencies, and local agency formation commissions.
(d) The board may delegate implementation of the sustainable plan for restoring safe drinking water to the Division of Drinking Water or another division of the board.
(e) Any water agency, including a special district, may act pursuant to a contract entered into under subdivision (b) outside of the jurisdiction of the agency.
Article  4. Safe Drinking Water for New Communities
117230.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Current state law seeks to ensure that homes in new residential developments have access to adequate, safe, and clean water supplies by linking local agency decisions on land use to water supply and water quality.
(2) In recent years, changes in water law and the emergence of California communities without sustainable, safe drinking water supplies have emphasized the need to review this land and water nexus to better ensure that all Californians will have sustainable, safe drinking water for decades to come.
(3) To protect the public health and welfare and to protect existing residential, agricultural, and commercial water users, it is vital that cities and counties consider the adequacy of water supplies in terms of both quantity and quality as part of their review of additional new residential developments.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to review existing laws designed to ensure the long-term adequacy of water supplies as part of the process of approving new development projects and to further integrate water quality and quantity considerations into land use decisions.
Article  5. Oversight
117240.
 (a) (1) By July 1, 2025, the board shall report to the Legislature on its progress restoring safe drinking water to all California communities in accordance with this chapter. The board shall develop metrics to measure the efficacy of the fund in ensuring safe and affordable drinking water for all Californians and shall use those metrics in its report to the Legislature.
(2) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under paragraph (1) is inoperative on July 1, 2029, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.
(3) A report to be submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(b) Funding for the board’s actions to restore safe drinking water to all California communities shall be displayed in the annual Governor’s Budget, including revenues, expenditures, and fund balances.
(c) At least every five years, the Legislative Analyst’s Office shall provide an assessment of the effectiveness of expenditures from the fund.
117241.
 The board shall create an internet website that provides data transparency for all of its activities pursuant to this chapter, in conjunction with implementation of the Open and Transparent Water Data Act (Part 4.9 (commencing with Section 12400) of Division 6 of the Water Code).
SEC. 2.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
SEC. 3.
 This act shall only become operative if Assembly Bill 217 of the 2019–20 Regular Session is enacted and becomes effective.