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SCA-4 Water conservation.(2017-2018)

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SCA4:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 4


Introduced by Senator Hertzberg

February 02, 2017


A resolution to propose to the people of the State of California an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by adding Article X C thereto, relating to water.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SCA 4, as introduced, Hertzberg. Water conservation.
The California Constitution requires that the water resources of the state be put to beneficial use to the fullest extent of which they are capable and that the waste or unreasonable use or unreasonable method of use of water be prevented.
This measure would declare the intent of the Legislature to amend the California Constitution to provide a program that would ensure that affordable water is available to all Californians and to ensure that water conservation is given a permanent role in California’s future.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

WHEREAS, Severe drought conditions have persisted for the last five years in California, some of the driest years in modern memory; and
WHEREAS, California’s water supplies dipped to alarmingly low levels in 2013, and even after more rain in 2016 and 2017, many wells statewide remain dry or in critical condition and those communities may face drinking water shortages across the state; and
WHEREAS, Many scientists caution that cycles of drought and near-permanent water scarcity are in California’s future. The state must focus on long-term water conservation and alternative supplies, even during wet years; and
WHEREAS, Recent drought conditions present urgent challenges across the state, including, but not limited to, water shortages in communities and for agricultural production, increased risk of wildfires, degraded habitat for fish and wildlife, and threat of saltwater contamination in large fresh water supplies; and
WHEREAS, Local communities need new tools to encourage conservation and discourage excessive use of water, to effectively manage and increase water supplies, and to ensure safe, clean water is available to all Californians; and
WHEREAS, Effective local management of water supplies includes authorizing local agencies to design rates to encourage conservation and discourage excessive use of water; and
WHEREAS, Existing state laws governing the funding of local water supplies, clean water, water conservation, and affordable rates were not developed with California’s current water realities in mind; and
WHEREAS, This measure shall be amended to establish a method that authorizes local agencies to do both of the following:
(1) Set rates for customers to encourage water conservation, prevent waste, and discourage excessive use of water.
(2) Use fees and charges to reduce water fees, sewer fees, and charges for low-income customers; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate, the Assembly concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2017–18 Regular Session commencing on the fifth day of December 2016, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows:

 That Article X C is added thereto, to read:

Article  X C Water Conservation

SECTION 1.
 It is the intent of the of the Legislature to subsequently amend this measure to propose to the people an amendment to the Constitution of the State to provide a program that would ensure that affordable water is available to all Californians and to ensure that water conservation is given a permanent role in California’s future.