Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy

December 2016 CWLN newsletter

Dear CWLN member,

For two years, the Community Water Center has explored the idea of a network to support and empower local water board leaders and grow the voice of small water systems in the Central Valley. Today, we are proud to launch the Community Water Leaders Network (the Network) with a diverse and committed group of community water system representatives from all over the Central Valley. The Network will connect members to resources and each other through monthly newsletters and conference call briefings, and quarterly in-person roundtable discussions and workshops.

As the water world changes, this network will also grow and evolve to respond to your interests and needs. We want to this network to be useful to you! We’ll ask for your ideas and feedback, but if you ever have ideas to share, please let us know. What questions do you keep running into on your board? What has your board been doing that could be helpful to share with others? What programs do you hear about and want to better understand?  Between us, we have A LOT of experience and so many good ideas to share. Together, we can secure the human right to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water in California -- and ensure that our Valley communities are vibrant, healthy and sustainable. Thank you so much for participating! We can’t wait to collaborate and learn with you!

Sincerely,

Kristin Dobbin
Regional Water Management Coordinator


AB 401 Statewide Affordability Program

Although Californians are legally guaranteed the human right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water, many communities in California face exceedingly high water rates. As a result of Assembly Bill 401 (Dodd), which was signed into law in 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board is now required to submit a plan for a statewide Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program to the California Legislature by February 2018. The State Water Board began gathering stakeholder input by hosting a series of five workshops throughout the state this fall. The agency will continue to collect feedback on how best to provide assistance to low-income residents as they design their water affordability plan.

Stakeholders, especially local water boards and residents facing water affordability challenges, are encouraged to submit comments on how the statewide program should be designed. Do you have ideas for the water affordability program? If so, please contact  CWC’s Asha Kreiling at Asha.Kreiling@communitywatercenter.org or 916-706-3346. While there is no deadline for comments now, we recommend commenting soon to ensure your voice is heard. For more information, please visit http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/conservation_portal/assistance/


Important Water Legislation Passed in 2016

The California legislature is in session from January to August every year. These legislative sessions are always full of ups and downs, and this year was no exception. While many bills will have an impact on California water, three new laws are especially relevant to local water boards:

  • SB 552 (Wolk) allows the State Water Resources Control Board to bring in a limited-term contract administrator to help water agencies manage their systems in times of transition and comply with drinking water standards. This change provides the State Water Board with another flexible tool to assist local water boards.
  • SB 1263 (Wieckowski) allows the State Water Board to deny the creation of unsustainable water systems and to prevent the development of communities which would rely on unsustainable water sources, such as hauled and bottled water.
  • AB 1755 (Dodd) would create, operate, and maintain a statewide integrated water data platform that would integrate existing water and ecological data information from multiple databases and provide data on completed water transfers and exchanges.  This data platform should increase transparency and facilitate information sharing for regional water management, including for SGMA.

Pending Changes to Water Conservation Mandates and Water Shortage Contingency Planning

Last May, Governor Brown passed Executive Order B-37-16 to increase drought resiliency and planning in California. Specifically it requires:

  • The State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Water Resources to work together to establish new statewide water conservation reduction levels and water use targets. A draft of these new requirements must be released by January 10, 2017.

  • The State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Water Resources to prohibit wasteful water practices permanently and to encourage investment in leak detection and repair for water systems throughout the state.

  • The Department of Water Resources to work with urban water suppliers, local government, environmental groups, and others to update Water Shortage Contingency Plan requirements, with draft requirements being released by January 10, 2017.

  • The Department of Water Resources to work with counties to improve drought planning for small and rural communities not currently covered by a Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

Whether your water system serves 100 people or 100,000 people, the implementation of this Executive Order will affect your water system. Board members in particular have an important role to play in ensuring the sustainability and reliability of our shared water supplies. Stay tuned for updates including the release of draft implementation guidelines and how you can get involved! Please reach out to CWC’s Kelsey Hinton at 916-706-3346 with questions. You can read the full Executive Order here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/docs/5.9.16_Executive_Order.pdf


Upcoming events:

  • December 1st, 4:30-5:45 PM. Community Water Leaders Network Kick-Off Reception at Alejandra’s Mexican restaurant (314 W. Main St., Visalia)
  • December 1st, 6-8 PM. Community Water Leaders Network Kick-Off Roundtable Discussion at Community Water Center’s office (311 W. Murray Ave., Visalia)
  • December 6th, 10:00-11:00 AM. RCAC online workshop on “Board Basics: Budgeting.” Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.
  • December 13th, 8:30-3:30 PM. RCAC in-person workshop. “Drinking Water Wells, Storage Tanks & Water Hydrology: Monitoring What We Cannot See.” Free Workshop. (Wyndam Hotel,  9000 W. Airport Dr., Visalia).
  • December 13th, 10:00-12:00 or 2:00-4:00 PM. RCAC online workshop. “Operator Basics, Water Treatment Techniques.” Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.
  • December 14th, 10:00-12:00 or 2:00-4:00 PM. RCAC online workshop. “Regulation Basics: Water Quality Sampling.” Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.
Even more events can be found on the Community Water Leaders online calendar at http://www.communitywatercenter.org/water_leaders_network

Featured resources of the month:

Every month we will share with you resources that are useful to local water boards like yours. This month we are featuring RCAC’s online workshops and the Office of Sustainable Water Solutions newsletter.

RCAC’s online workshops: Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) provides training, technical and financial resources and advocacy so rural communities can achieve their goals and visions. Throughout the year, RCAC hosts workshops on a variety of relevant topics including board basics, regulation basics, and operator basics series. Many of their workshops are online, and most are free. Visit their training website at www.events.rcac.org to learn more. If you’re interested in a workshop but need a laptop or internet to participate, or if you have trouble registering, let us know -- we are happy to help.

OSWS newsletter: The Office of Sustainable Water Solutions (OSWS) is a new office within the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water that is dedicated to promoting permanent and sustainable drinking water and wastewater treatment solutions, particularly in small communities. Every few months, the Office releases a newsletter in English and Spanish with excellent resources and information, including state funding opportunities. You can find past newsletters and subscribe to receive newsletters here, or you can find their newsletters by googling “office of sustainable water solutions.”

Other reminders:
Funding Available for Water and Energy Audits
Public agencies may be eligible to receive up to $35,000 in funding for a water or energy audit through the State Water Board.
http://www.acwa.com/news/energy/funding-available-water-and-energy-audits

Small Water Suppliers Reminded to Submit Water Production Data
Small water suppliers in California must report potable water production data to the state by Dec. 15, including November numbers.
http://www.acwa.com/news/conservation/small-water-suppliers-reminded-submit-water-production-data 

 


Do you have any questions about this newsletter or the Community Water Leaders Network? Contact Kristin Dobbin at 559-733-0219 or kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org .
 

 

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