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July 11, 2019  |  Written by Kristian C. Corby

Five Things You Need to Know About SB-200: California’s Proposed Clean Drinking Water Fund

The California Legislature recently passed SB-200 that will create an annual fund of $130 million to tackle the state’s drinking water problems.  Approximately one million Californians do not have access to clean drinking water due to natural or man-made causes.  SB-200 will give public agencies, nonprofits, public utilities, mutual water companies, tribes, and groundwater sustainability agencies the opportunity to apply for funding to remediate their drinking water problems.  Governor Newsom is expected to sign the bill into law.  Here are five things you need to know about SB-200:

  • Originally, the Governor proposed a tax on residential water use to address the problem, but state lawmakers were wary of approving a new tax in a year when they had an estimated $21.5 billion surplus. SB-200 will use money from the State’s cap and trade fund, which generates revenue when entities purchase credits to emit greenhouse gases.
  • The bill makes $130 million available per year through 2030 to help water providers with their operating costs, including consolidating smaller water districts to help improve their management and finances.
  • The fund created by SB-200 can also be used to purchase replacement water when a particular water supply is too contaminated for use.
  • The bill establishes the fund within the State Treasury, and puts the State Water Resources Control Board in charge of administering the fund and creating the criteria for how the money will be awarded to qualified recipients.
  • The Senate analysis for the bill shows that it received broad support from agricultural groups, water providers, environmental non-profits, and more, while receiving no opposition.

For questions or additional information please contact Kristian Corby at kcorby@somachlaw.com.

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