Today's Law As Amended

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SB-351 Water Innovation Act of 2021.(2021-2022)

As Amends the Law Today


 Part 10 (commencing with Section 12996) is added to Division 6 of the Water Code, to read:


CHAPTER  1. General Provisions
 This part shall be known, and may be cited, as the Water Innovation Act of 2021.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Climate change is having a profound impact on California’s water systems.
(b) California’s water systems face challenges in addition to climate change, such as aging infrastructure, groundwater contamination, subsidence, and an aging workforce.
(c) A number of state agencies and departments are engaged in efforts to help water systems address specific challenges, each within their separate jurisdictions.
(d) Accordingly, solutions are offered to address those specific agency-focused issues in silos without regard to the role of technology and other water innovations necessary to meet those statewide needs.
(e) Today, California lacks a robust strategy to encourage the development and adoption of water technologies and other water innovations.
(f) Other utility-based markets, like energy, benefit from the state’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
(g) Similarly, water utilities, ratepayers, and ecosystems stand to benefit from faster development and broader adoption of water innovation and technology.
(h) California’s water technology adoption remains nascent, creating the potential for a growth industry as water users increasingly turn to technology to meet their needs.
 Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions below govern the construction of this part:
(a) “Commission” means California Water Commission.
(b) “Department” means Department of Water Resources.
(c) “Innovation” means new ideas, processes, technologies, or products which when implemented lead to positive effective change in water acquisition, treatment, use, or any other aspect of water resources management, or reducing the negative effects of water resources management on the natural or human environments.
(d) “Office” means Office of Water Innovation.
(e) “State board” means State Water Resources Control Board.
CHAPTER  2. Office of Water Innovation
 In partnership with the state board and other relevant agencies, an Office of Water Innovation is established at the California Water Commission for the furtherance of new technologies and other innovative approaches in the water sector.
 (a) The office, by December 31, 2023, shall do all of the following to advance innovation in the water sector:
(1) Establish an interagency team to increase collaboration among state agencies on innovative approaches.
(2) Engage affected stakeholders, including water agencies, academia, vendors, commercial and agriculture users, and environmental organizations.
(3) Review regulations that may limit or inhibit innovation or the adoption of new technologies and other water innovations and make recommendations for streamlining or revising those regulations.
(4) Develop a list of new technologies and other water innovations and publish that information on a public internet website.
(5) Review opportunities for a pilot program that would issue grants to water agencies for evaluating new technologies and other water innovations in their water systems.
(6) Review investment trends for innovation and make recommendations for increasing investment.
(b) The commission may partner with an existing nonprofit organization, with a new nonprofit organization that the department creates, organized under paragraph (3) of subsection (c) of Section 501 of Title 26 of the United States Code, or with another state agency to review, develop, or publish, or any combination thereof, any responsibilities of the office outlined in subdivision (a).
(c) A state agency may disseminate, manage, or publish information separately from the office.
CHAPTER  3. Water Innovation Fund
 (a) The Water Innovation Fund is hereby created. All moneys in the fund are available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to the department, the state board, or other state agencies for the furtherance of water innovation as outlined in this part.
(b) The Department of Finance shall develop a standardized agreement to allow for voluntary donations to the fund by any person, educational institution, government entity, corporation or other business entity, or organization.