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AB-1270 Dams and reservoirs: inspections and reporting.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/13/2018 09:00 PM
AB1270:v92#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  February 13, 2018
Passed  IN  Senate  February 05, 2018
Passed  IN  Assembly  February 12, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  January 22, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  September 12, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  September 08, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  July 20, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  June 28, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 21, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1270


Introduced by Assembly Member Gallagher
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Travis Allen, Eggman, Fong, Mathis, Patterson, Steinorth, and Voepel)
(Coauthor: Senator Nielsen)

February 17, 2017


An act to add Sections 6102.5 and 6103 to, and to repeal and add Section 6102 of, the Water Code, relating to water, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1270, Gallagher. Dams and reservoirs: inspections and reporting.
Existing law requires the Department of Water Resources, from time to time, to make inspections of dams and reservoirs at state expense for the purpose of determining their safety.
This bill would repeal those provisions and instead would require the department to inspect dams, reservoirs, and appurtenant structures once per fiscal year with the exception of low hazard potential dams which the bill would require to receive inspections at least every 2 fiscal years, as specified. The bill would require the owner of a dam to operate critical outlet and spillway control features on an annual basis and to demonstrate their full operability in the presence of the department every 3 years or as directed by the department. The bill would provide that the dam inspection reports are public records subject to the California Public Records Act and would authorize the department to withhold from public release sensitive data, images, or other information, as prescribed, if the department includes in the public release a statement of findings that the withheld information would disclose a dam’s vulnerability or pose a security threat. The bill would require the Division of Safety of Dams, in consultation with independent, national dam safety and dam safety risk management organizations to, on or before January 1, 2019, and every 10 years thereafter, propose amendments to its dam safety inspection and reevaluation protocols to incorporate updated best practices, including risk management, to ensure public safety. The bill would require the department to provide on its Internet Web site the dam safety inspection and reevaluation protocols, notice of the Division of Safety of Dams’ intent to update the protocols, a schedule for the update, and any updates to the protocols. The bill would require the department to report to the Governor and the Legislature on amendments developed pursuant to these provisions and to notify dam owners and the Legislature of the division’s intent to update dam safety inspection and reevaluation protocols prior to amending the protocols.
Existing constitutional provisions require that a statute that limits the right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies be adopted with findings demonstrating the interest protected by the limitation and the need for protecting that interest.
This bill would make legislative findings to that effect.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 6102 of the Water Code is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 Section 6102 is added to the Water Code, to read:

6102.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The Division of Safety of Dams as part of the department inspects and reevaluates its jurisdictional dams and reservoirs for the purpose of determining their safety.
(b) Globally and nationally, there is recognition that, as with all aging infrastructure, there is an unmet need regarding dam maintenance and repairs. California needs to continue to lead efforts to address these unmet needs, and improve upon standards set by regulatory agencies to ensure public safety.
(c) In order to ensure the safe operation of dams and to maintain public confidence in dam safety, the Division of Safety of Dams must inspect dams within its jurisdiction once per fiscal year with the exception of low hazard potential dams which will receive inspections every two fiscal years at a minimum. California’s dam safety procedures must stay on par with, or ahead of, best practices and must continually update those procedures based on the best available knowledge.
(d) In order to ensure that the practices of the Division of Safety of Dams continue to reflect the best available knowledge, and in light of the recommendations arising from the independent Forensic Team’s review of the Oroville Dam spillway incident, the Division must consult with independent dam safety and dam safety risk management organizations to propose additions to the Division’s existing dam safety program in order to incorporate updated best practices to ensure public safety, as set forth in Section 6103.

SEC. 3.

 Section 6102.5 is added to the Water Code, to read:

6102.5.
 (a) The department shall inspect dams, reservoirs, and appurtenant structures to verify their safety in accordance with the following schedule:
(1) A facility that has been determined by the department, pursuant to Section 6160, to have a hazard classification of significant, high, or extremely high, shall be inspected at least once per fiscal year.
(2) A facility that has been determined by the department, pursuant to Section 6160, to have a hazard classification of low shall be inspected at least once every two fiscal years.
(b) The department shall require owners to perform, at the owner’s expense, such work as necessary to disclose information sufficient to enable the department to determine conditions of dams, reservoirs, and critical appurtenant structures regarding their safety and to perform, at the owner’s expense, other work necessary to secure maintenance and operation that will safeguard life and property. An inspection pursuant to subdivision (a) shall include, but is not limited to, visual inspection of major features of the dam, including its groins, abutments, and toe areas, the dam’s spillway, and the dam’s outlet works. The inspection shall also evaluate seepage and instrumentation, and include a review of available geological data and existing geological conditions.
(c) An owner of a dam shall operate critical outlet and spillway control features on an annual basis and shall demonstrate their full operability in the presence of the department every three years or as directed by the department.
(d) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), dam inspection reports conducted by the Division of Safety of Dams shall be public records subject to the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code).
(2) (A) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the department, in accordance with applicable law and in consultation with the dam owner and relevant local, state, or federal public safety entities, may withhold from public release sensitive data, images, or other information that discloses a dam’s vulnerability or poses a security threat.
(B) If the department withholds information pursuant to subparagraph (A), the department shall include in the public release a statement of findings that the withheld information would disclose a dam’s vulnerability or pose a security threat, as described in subparagraph (A).

SEC. 4.

 Section 6103 is added to the Water Code, to read:

6103.
 (a) (1) On or before January 1, 2019, the Division of Safety of Dams, in consultation with independent, national dam safety and dam safety risk management organizations, including, but not limited to, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials and the United States Society on Dams, shall propose amendments to its dam safety inspection and reevaluation protocols to incorporate updated best practices, including risk management, to ensure public safety.
(2) Each proposed amendment, at minimum, shall provide an estimated range of potential cost to implement the new protocol and resulting required remediation, if any. The proposed amendments shall specify which dams the protocol applies to.
(3) The amendments proposed in paragraph (1) shall provide, at a minimum, that re-evaluations of extremely high hazard and high hazard dams include the review of the original design and construction, geotechnical, structural, hydraulic, hydrological, geologic, seismic hazard, monitoring and instrumentation, and overall dam performance, as applicable to the feature being re-evaluated.
(b) (1) Every ten years, the Division of Safety of Dams, in consultation with national dam safety organizations, shall reassess the previously adopted amendments and propose additional amendments as necessary. This section does not preclude more frequent revisions as needed.
(2) The department shall notify dam owners and the Legislature of the Division of Safety of Dams’ intent to update its dam safety inspection and reevaluation protocols prior to amending the protocols. The department shall also provide notice on its public Internet Web site of the planned update and the schedule for the update.
(3) The department shall make its dam safety inspection and reevaluation protocols and any updates to the protocols available on its Internet Web site.
(c) (1) The department shall report to the Governor and the Legislature on the amendments developed pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b) and shall continue to coordinate with appropriate federal entities.
(2) A report to be submitted to the Legislature pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

SEC. 5.

 The Legislature finds and declares that the section of this act that adds Section 6102.5 to the Water Code imposes a limitation on the public’s right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies within the meaning of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution. Pursuant to that constitutional provision, the Legislature makes the following findings to demonstrate the interest protected by this limitation and the need for protecting that interest:
In order to protect public safety, it is in the state’s interest to limit public access to information that would disclose a dam’s vulnerability or pose a security threat.

SEC. 6.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
It is necessary that this act take effect immediately in light of the Oroville Dam spillway failure, because it is important that dam inspection and reevaluation protocols are updated as soon as possible in order to ensure updated best practices that could help identify other dams with shortcomings that threaten public safety.