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SB-552 Drought planning: small water suppliers: nontransient noncommunity water systems. (2021-2022)

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Date Published: 06/21/2021 09:00 PM
SB552:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  June 21, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  June 14, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  May 20, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  April 27, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 552


Introduced by Senator Hertzberg
(Coauthors: Senators Archuleta, Caballero, Dodd, and Wiener)

February 18, 2021


An act to add Part 2.56 (commencing with Section 10609.50) to Division 6 of the Water Code, relating to water.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 552, as amended, Hertzberg. Drought planning: small water suppliers: nontransient noncommunity water systems.
Existing law declares that small water suppliers and rural communities are often not covered by established water shortage requirements, and that the state should provide guidance to improve drought planning for small water suppliers and rural communities. Existing law required the Department of Water Resources, in consultation with the State Water Resources Control Board and other relevant state and local agencies and stakeholders, to use available data to identify, no later than January 1, 2020, small water suppliers and rural communities that may be at risk of drought and water shortage vulnerability. To implement this directive, the department formed a stakeholder advisory group, the County Drought Advisory Group. Existing law required the department, in consultation with the state board, to propose to the Governor and the Legislature, by January 1, 2020, recommendations and guidance relating to the development and implementation of countywide drought and water shortage contingency plans to address the planning needs of small water suppliers and rural communities, as provided.
This bill would require small water suppliers, as defined, and nontransient noncommunity water systems that are schools, no later than December 31, 2022, to develop and maintain an abridged Water Shortage Contingency Plan that includes specified drought-planning elements. The bill would require these water systems to report annually specified water supply condition information to the state board through the state board’s Electronic Annual Reporting System or other reporting tool, as directed by the state board, and to include water system risk and water shortage information in the water systems’ consumer confidence reports, as provided. The bill would require the state board, in partnership with the department and specified stakeholders and no later than December 31, 2022, to conduct an assessment of drought and emergency water shortage resiliency measures for small water suppliers and nontransient noncommunity water systems that are schools, as specified.
This bill would require a county to establish a standing county drought and water shortage task force to facilitate drought and water shortage preparedness for state small water systems and domestic wells within the county’s jurisdiction, as provided. The bill would authorize a county, in lieu of establishing a standing task force, to establish an alternative process that facilitates drought and water shortage preparedness for state small water systems and domestic wells within the county’s jurisdiction, as provided. The bill would provide that a county that establishes a drought task force on or before January 1, 2022, shall be deemed in compliance with these requirements as long as the task force continues to exist. The bill would require a county to develop a plan that includes potential drought and water shortage risk and proposed interim and long-term solutions, as provided. The bill would require a county to update its well permit application to include a checkbox or another input method to determine if the reason for the well permit application is due to a dry well, or due to a well that is actively failing or at risk of failing due to drought and water shortage, and report to the department and any groundwater sustainability agencies within its jurisdiction a summary of information on well permits, including the number and locations of both dry wells and wells that are actively failing or at risk of failing due to drought and water shortage, as specified. Because the bill would impose additional duties on counties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
This bill would require the department to take specified actions to support implementation of the recommendations from the County Drought Advisory Group. The bill would require the department to form a standing interagency drought and water shortage task force to facilitate proactive planning and coordinating, both for predrought planning and postdrought emergency response, which shall consist of various representatives, including representatives from local governments. Because the bill would impose additional duties on local governments, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would require the department, during a drought emergency, to update its Household Water Supply Shortage Reporting System and internet website at least once a month. The bill would require the department to engage in specified tasks regarding that reporting system and internet website, including alerting a county when a dry well voluntary report is filed in that reporting system for a well located in that county.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Part 2.56 (commencing with Section 10609.50) is added to Division 6 of the Water Code, to read:

PART 2.56. Drought Planning for Small Water Suppliers, State Small Water Systems, and Domestic Well Communities

CHAPTER  1. General Provisions

10609.50.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Droughts are predicted to become more frequent, longer, and more severe as climate change progresses, putting drinking water supplies at risk of running dry or becoming contaminated.
(b) As demonstrated by the most recent drought from 2012 to 2016, inclusive, (2012–16 drought) drought conditions disproportionally impact low-income, small, and rural communities, as demonstrated by all of the following:
(1) (A) Rural communities are more likely to rely solely on groundwater from small water suppliers or domestic wells.
(B) Domestic wells tend to be shallower and are susceptible to running dry when groundwater is overpumped.
(2) (A) The 2012–16 drought negatively impacted over 480,000 people relying on drought-impacted public water systems.
(B) Seventy-six percent of impacted public water systems were small, serving 1,000 service connections or fewer and concentrated in the southern San Joaquin Valley.
(c) There are currently varying levels of water contingency planning and coverage across counties for small water suppliers and self-supplied communities, leaving hundreds of thousands of people at risk of going without water to meet their basic household and drinking water needs during the next drought.
(d) If another drought occurs that is as severe as the 2012–16 drought, more than 4,500 domestic wells in the San Joaquin Valley may be impacted. The cost to mitigate this damage could be more than one hundred fifteen million dollars ($115,000,000).
(e) No one should go without running water during a drought. California can take basic steps to implement more proactive drought planning that would benefit the communities most at risk, and by doing so help prevent catastrophic impacts on drinking water for the communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

10609.51.
 For purposes of this part, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Community water system” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275 of the Health and Safety Code.
(b) “County Drought Advisory Group” means the group created by the department to implement Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 10609.40) of Part 2.55.
(c) “Department” means the Department of Water Resources.
(d) “Domestic well” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116681 of the Health and Safety Code.
(e) “Fund expenditure plan” means the fund expenditure plan established in Section 116768 of the Health and Safety Code.
(f) “Nontransient noncommunity water system” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275 of the Health and Safety Code.
(g) “Public water system” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275 of the Health and Safety Code.
(h) “Risk vulnerability tool” means the tool created by the department to implement Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 10609.40) of Part 2.55.
(i) “Rural community” means a community with fewer than 15 service connections, or regularly serving less than 25 individuals daily at least 60 days out of the year.
(j) “Small water supplier” means a community water system serving 15 to 2,999 service connections, inclusive, and that provides less than 3,000 acre-feet of water annually.
(k) “State board” means the State Water Resources Control Board.
(l) “State small water system” has the same meaning as defined in Section 116275 of the Health and Safety Code.

CHAPTER  2. Small Water Suppliers and Nontransient Noncommunity Water Systems

10609.60.
 (a) No later than December 31, 2022, and updated every five years thereafter, a small water supplier and a nontransient noncommunity water system that is a school shall each develop and maintain, onsite, an abridged Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) that includes, at a minimum, all of the following drought-planning elements:
(1) Drought-planning contacts, including all of the following:
(A) At least one contact at the water system for water shortage planning and response and the development of the plan.
(B) Contacts for local public safety partners and potential vendors that can provide repairs or alternative water sources, including, but not limited to, local community-based organizations that work with the population in and around areas served by the water system, contractors for drilling wells, vended water suppliers, and emergency shower vendors.
(C) State and local agency contacts who should be informed when a drought or water shortage emergency is emerging or has occurred.
(D) Regional water planning groups or mutual aid networks, to the extent they exist.
(2) Triggering mechanisms and levels for action, including both of the following:
(A) Standard water shortage levels corresponding to progressive ranges based on the water supply conditions. Water shortage levels shall also apply to catastrophic interruption of water supplies, including, but not limited to, a regional power outage, an earthquake, a fire, and other potential emergency events.
(B) Water shortage mitigation, response, customer communications, enforcement, and relief actions that align with the water shortage levels required by subparagraph (A).
(b) A small water supplier and a nontransient noncommunity water system that is a school shall each make the abridged Water Shortage Contingency Plan available on their individual internet websites, if any. A small water supplier or a nontransient noncommunity water system that is a school that does not have an internet website shall make the abridged Water Shortage Contingency Plan available to persons upon request. The abridged Water Shortage Contingency Plan shall be provided to the state board’s Division of Drinking Water for inspection upon demand.
(c) No later than June 30, 2022, the department and the state board shall create an abridged Water Shortage Contingency Plan template for small water suppliers and nontransient noncommunity water systems that are schools to facilitate implementation of this section.

10609.61.
 A small water supplier and a nontransient noncommunity water system that is a school shall each report annually water supply condition information to the state board through the state board’s Electronic Annual Reporting (eAR) System or other reporting tool, as directed by the state board. Water supply condition information includes, but is not limited to, both of the following:
(a) An inventory and assessment of each water supply source, including its available status and if any further investments or treatment are required for its utilization, any lead time required for its utilization, and its delivery parameters such as flow rate and total volume available.
(b) The reporting year’s total water demand volume for each month, and average and peak flowrate demand for each month and annually.

10609.62.
 A small water supplier and a nontransient noncommunity water system that is a school shall each include in their annual consumer confidence report, pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 116470 of the Health and Safety Code, information regarding the water system’s risk to drought and water shortage.

10609.63.
 (a) The state board shall do all of the following:
(1) (A) No later than December 31, 2022, in partnership with the department and stakeholders described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 10609.70, conduct an assessment of drought and emergency water shortage resiliency measures for small water suppliers and nontransient noncommunity water systems that are schools. The state board shall engage with stakeholders during the development of the assessment, and shall adopt the final assessment in a public hearing of the board. The assessment shall assess availability for, at a minimum, one or more of the following resiliency measures:
(i) Backup water supplies, including all of the following:
(I) Backup wells.
(II) Interties to adjacent water supply systems.
(III) Other available sources of backup water supplies.
(ii) Well levels monitoring.
(iii) Backup electrical supplies.
(iv) Participation in the California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (CalWARN) or other mutual aid organizations.
(v) Source and distribution facilities adequate to meet fire flow.
(vi) Staged implementation of connection metering to measure customer water use.
(B) Where availability of any of the resiliency measures required to be assessed pursuant to subparagraph (A) is lacking, the state board, in partnership with the department and stakeholders described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 10609.70, shall make recommendations and identify proposed solutions to address the lack of availability of resiliency measures.
(2) In collaboration with small water suppliers and nontransient noncommunity water systems that are schools, gather information relevant to the assessment, request information, and compel reporting, and contract with third-party experts and technical assistance providers reporting to implement this chapter.
(3) Consider, and address in the state board’s fund expenditure plan, the drought planning and preparedness of small water suppliers and nontransient noncommunity water systems that are schools as part of the state board’s implementation of its Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience Program to inform drinking water projects and programs.
(4) Establish minimum resiliency measures for infrastructure improvements for small water suppliers and nontransient noncommunity water systems that are schools.
(5) Identify funding needs for implementation of resiliency projects and incorporate those needs into the state board’s fund expenditure plan and intended use plan analysis, and develop a prioritization process for existing, new, and expanded funding sources.
(b) The state board may provide funding to small water suppliers and nontransient noncommunity water systems that are schools to install additional basic infrastructure to improve drought and water shortage and response.
(c) The state board may contract with third-party experts and technical assistance providers to implement this chapter.

CHAPTER  3. State Small Water Systems Serving 5 to 14 Service Connections, Inclusive, and Domestic Wells

10609.70.
 (a) (1) A county shall establish a standing county drought and water shortage task force to facilitate drought and water shortage preparedness for state small water systems and domestic wells within the county’s jurisdiction, and shall invite representatives from the state and other local governments, including groundwater sustainability agencies, and community-based organizations, local water suppliers, and local residents, to participate in the task force.
(2) In lieu of the task force required by paragraph (1), a county may establish an alternative process that facilitates drought and water shortage preparedness for state small water systems and domestic wells within the county’s jurisdiction. The alternative process shall provide opportunities for coordinating and communicating with the state and other local governments, community-based organizations, local water suppliers, and local residents on a regular basis and during drought or water shortage emergencies.
(3) A county that establishes a drought task force on or before January 1, 2022, shall be deemed in compliance with this subdivision as long as the task force continues to exist.
(b) A county shall develop a plan that includes potential drought and water shortage risk and proposed interim and long-term solutions. The plan may be a stand-alone document or may be included as an element in an existing county plan, such as a local hazard mitigation plan, emergency operations plan, climate action plan, or general plan. A county shall consult with its drought task force or alternative coordinating process as established by this section in developing its plan. A county shall consider, at a minimum, all of the following solutions in its plan:
(1) Consolidations for existing water systems and domestic wells.
(2) Domestic well drinking water mitigation programs.
(3) Provision of emergency and interim drinking water solutions.
(4) An analysis of the steps necessary to implement the plan.
(5) An analysis of local, state, and federal funding sources available to implement the plan.
(c) The state board shall work with counties, technical assistance providers, nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, and the public to address state small water system and domestic well community drought resiliency needs, including both of the following:
(1) Proactive communication to domestic well communities before a drought occurs, such as information on local bottled water and water tank providers.
(2) Funding for installation of basic drought resiliency infrastructure, such as well monitoring devices.

CHAPTER  4. Drought and Water Shortage County Well Permit Application Reporting

10609.75.
 (a) A county shall update its well permit application to include a checkbox or another input method to determine if the reason for the well permit application is due to a dry well, or due to a well that is actively failing or at risk of failing due to drought and water shortage. If the purpose of the new well is to replace a dry well, or a well that is failing or at risk of failing due to drought and water shortage, a county shall include on the application form a request for available information about the well, including, but not limited to, well identification number, location, and screening level. This information may include coordinates of the well or well completion report data.
(b) A county shall report at least annually a summary of information on well permits, including the number and locations of both dry wells and wells that are actively failing or at risk of failing due to drought and water shortage, that occurred over the past year to the department via the Household Water Supply Shortage Reporting System, and to any groundwater sustainability agencies within the county. This information shall also be made publicly available on the county’s internet website. During a drought emergency, a county shall report well permit information described in this section on a quarterly basis.
(c) For the purpose of this section, a well that is actively failing or at risk of failing includes, but is not limited to, a well experiencing increased pumping lift, pump cavitation, well screen clogging, or wells running dry.

CHAPTER  5. State Agency Implementation

10609.80.
 (a) The department shall take all of the following actions to support implementation of the recommendations of its County Drought Advisory Group:
(1) Maintain, in partnership with the state board and other relevant state agencies, the risk vulnerability tool developed as part of the County Drought Advisory Group process and continue to refine existing data and gather new data for the tool, including, but not limited to, data on all of the following:
(A) Small water suppliers and nontransient noncommunity water systems serving a school.
(B) State small water systems and rural communities.
(C) Domestic wells and other self-supplied residents.
(2) No later than October 15 of each calendar year, and annually thereafter, update the risk vulnerability tool for small water suppliers and rural communities, by doing all of the following:
(A) Regularly revise the indicators and construction of the scoring as more data becomes readily available.
(B) Make existing and new data publicly available in a centralized location similar to the Human Right to Water Portal on the state board’s internet website.
(C) In consultation with other relevant state agencies, identify deficits in data quality and availability and develop recommendations to address these gaps.
(3) Provide a process for a small water supplier, nontransient noncommunity water system serving a school, or state small water system to contest data or findings of the risk vulnerability tool, no later than 45 days prior to the publication of the updated tool. The department shall consider for inclusion any new information provided by the small water supplier, nontransient noncommunity water system serving a school, or state small water system.
(b) (1) The department, in collaboration with the state board and relevant state agencies, shall establish a standing interagency drought and water shortage task force to facilitate proactive state planning and coordination, both for predrought planning and postdrought emergency response.
(2) The interagency drought and water shortage task force shall be a continuation of, or modeled off of, the existing County Drought Advisory Group and shall include representatives from local governments, community-based organizations, nonprofit technical assistance providers, and the public.
(c) During a drought emergency, the department shall update its Household Water Supply Shortage Reporting System and internet website at least once a month.
(d) The department shall, at a minimum, do all of the following regarding its Household Water Supply Shortage Reporting System and internet website:
(1) Alert a county when a dry well voluntary report is filed in the Household Water Supply Shortage Reporting System for a well located in that county.
(2) Provide an update from the Household Water Supply Shortage Reporting System to the interagency drought and water shortage task force on at least a quarterly basis.

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.