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AB-1649 State water policy: priority: surface water storage projects and joint powers authorities.(2015-2016)

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Amended  IN  Assembly  May 27, 2016
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 05, 2016
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 17, 2016

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1649


Introduced by Assembly Members Salas and Gallagher
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Bigelow, Gray, Olsen, and Patterson)
(Coauthors: Senators Berryhill, Cannella, Fuller, Galgiani, and Vidak)

January 12, 2016


An act to add Section 114 to the Water Code, relating to water storage.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1649, as amended, Salas. State water policy: priority: surface water storage projects and joint powers authorities.
Existing law establishes various state water policies, including that the protection of the public interest in the development of the water resources of the state is of vital concern to the people of the state and that the state shall determine in what way the water of the state, both surface and underground, should be developed for the greatest public benefit.
This bill would require the Department of Water Resources to develop a state water policy that gives priority to the formation of joint powers authorities that are formed to address critical surface water storage needs and to funding of the joint powers authorities’ surface water projects. The bill would make findings and declarations of the Legislature, including, but not limited to, that, of the water storage projects available, the Temperance Flat Dam and Sites Reservoir will meet statewide goals and provide specified public benefits to the greatest extent.
Vote: TWO_THIRDSMAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) According to the United States Drought Monitor, over 90 percent of California is in “Severe Drought,” raising concerns over water supply dependability and underscoring the need for immediate statewide action.
(b) On November 4, 2014, voters approved Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, which authorizes $7,545,000,000 in general obligation bonds to finance a water quality, supply, and infrastructure improvement program, and continuously appropriates from the revenue of those bonds $2,700,000,000 for water storage projects, including, but not limited to, dams and reservoirs.
(c) With the promise of increased water storage, voters approved Proposition 1 by 67 percent. The argument in favor of Proposition 1 in the state’s official voter information guide states “Proposition 1 invests in new storage increasing the amount of water that can be stored during wet years for the dry years that will continue to challenge California.”
(d) Expanding and improving California’s water storage capacity is long overdue. The last time California saw significant state and federal investments in the state’s water storage and delivery system was in the 1960s, when the state’s population stood at 16 million. Today, that same system supports 38 million individuals and will need to support 50 million by 2050.
(e) Statewide water storage goals, as outlined in Chapter 8 of Proposition 1 (Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 79750) of Division 26.7 of the Water Code), are necessary to update California’s aging water infrastructure, provide reliable water supply for the public and our agricultural economy, and protect the environmental health of the Delta.
(f) A water storage project may only be funded by Chapter 8 of Proposition 1 (Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 79750) of Division 26.7 of the Water Code) if it provides specified public benefits, including: ecosystem improvements; water quality improvements to the Delta and river systems that provide public trust resources or restore groundwater resources; flood control benefits, including increases in reservoir storage capacity in response to decreasing snow pack; emergency response, including securing emergency water supplies for salinity repulsion; and recreational purposes.
(g) Of the water storage projects available, the Temperance Flat Dam and Sites Reservoir will meet statewide goals and provide all of these public benefits to the greatest extent. These projects will allow California to store more water in years of high rainfall, which will ease pressures placed on the Delta and groundwater supply during years of prolonged drought, and facilitate the storage of snow melt and timed releases of water to improve flow conditions and water temperatures.

SEC. 2.

 Section 114 is added to the Water Code, to read:

114.
 No later than 60 days after the effective date of the act which added this section, April 30, 2017, the department shall develop a state water policy that gives priority to the formation of joint powers authorities that are formed to address critical surface water storage needs and to the funding of the joint powers authorities’ surface water storage projects.