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



Current Version: 02/09/21 - Introduced         Compare Versions information image


SB351:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 351


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

February 09, 2021


An act to add Part 10 (commencing with Section 12996) to Division 6 of the Water Code, relating to water.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 351, as introduced, Caballero. Water Innovation Act of 2021.
Existing law declares 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. Existing law establishes the Department of Water Resources, and within the department, the California Water Commission. Existing law establishes the State Water Resources Control Board for the purposes of providing for the orderly and efficient administration of the water resources of the state.
This bill, the Water Innovation Act of 2021, would create the Office of Water Innovation at the California Water Commission for the furtherance of new technologies and other innovative approaches in the water sector. The bill would require the office, by December 31, 2023, to take specified measures to advance innovation in the water sector. The bill would make findings and declarations regarding the need for water innovation.
The bill would further create the Water Innovation Fund, with all moneys available, upon appropriation, to the department, the state board, or other state agencies for the furtherance of water innovation. The bill would require the Department of Finance to 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.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

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

PART 10. WATER INNOVATION ACT OF 2021

CHAPTER  1. General Provisions

12996.
 This part shall be known, and may be cited, as the Water Innovation Act of 2021.

12996.1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Climate change is having a profound impact on California’s water systems, which the state is trying to address through the Water Resilience Portfolio, among other efforts.
(b) California’s water systems face challenges in addition to climate change, such as aging infrastructure, groundwater contamination, subsidence, and an aging workforce.
(c) State agencies and departments are engaged in efforts to help water systems address specific challenges within their separate jurisdictions.
(d) Accordingly, solutions are offered to address those specific agency-focused issues in silos without regard to the role of technological innovation necessary to meet those statewide needs.
(e) Today, California lacks a robust strategy to encourage the development and adoption of innovative water technologies.
(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.

12996.2.
 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) “Office” means Office of Water Innovation.
(d) “State board” means State Water Resources Control Board.

CHAPTER  2. Office of Water Innovation

12997.
 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.

12997.1.
 (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 make recommendations for streamlining or revising those regulations.
(4) Develop a list of new technologies 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 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

12998.
 (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.