BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 808
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 27, 2010

                            Jared William Huffman, Chair
                    SB 808 (Wolk) - As Amended:  January 25, 2010

           SENATE VOTE  :   35-0
          SUBJECT  :   Delta levee maintenance

           SUMMARY  :   This bill extends the inoperative date on the current  
          Delta levee maintenance subvention program from July 1, 2010 to  
          July 1, 2013.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Extends the current reimbursement rates, which allow the State  
            to pay local agencies up to 75% of levee maintenance costs  
            which exceed $1,000 per mile, to July 1, 2013.  

          2)Requires reimbursements to reflect the priorities of, and be  
            consistent with, the Delta Plan.

          3)Amends the existing inoperative date of July 1, 2010 as an  
            urgency statute to take effect immediately.

           EXISTING LAW:

           1)Requires DWR to study the risks posed to the integrity of the  
            Delta by various hazards and to prioritize options for their  
            mitigation.  This effort is known as the Delta Risk Management  
            Strategy (DRMS).

          2)Establishes a planning framework for the Delta: the Delta  
            Plan.  The Delta Plan is due January 2012 and will likely  
            incorporate the DRMS levee risk management results.   

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee analysis, because the bill will increase the maximum  
          state cost share, it will put pressure on existing bond funds,  
          which can be used for a variety of flood control projects,  
          including Delta subventions. The total cost pressures are  
          unknown, because the number and size of future funding requests  
          from local districts are unknown, but are anticipated to be in  
          the millions of dollars (Propositions 1E and 84). 

           COMMENTS  :   The Delta levees are the key physical element  


                                                                  SB 808
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          maintaining the Delta in its current state and are essential for  
          the protection from flooding of human life, property (e.g.  
          buildings, equipment, and crops, among others), water quality  
          and wildlife habitat.  While the Delta levees are mostly  
          private, the State and Federal governments also rely upon them  
          to maintain the use of the Delta as a water conveyance system  
          for the State Water Project (SWP) and the federal Central Valley  
          Project (CVP).

          The Delta levee maintenance subvention program was created by SB  
          541 in 1973 (Way, c. 717, Statutes of 1973).  The program has  
          been modified periodically since its inception and currently  
          provides reimbursement funds to local agencies for costs  
          incurred in any year for the maintenance or improvement of  
          project or non-project levees.  Until June 30, 2010 the  
          reimbursement rate is:

                 zero if the entire cost incurred per mile of levee is  
               $1,000 or less
                 up to 75% of any costs incurred in excess of $1,000 per  
               mile of levee would be paid by the State based upon an  
               assessment of the agency's ability to pay.

          In the absence of this legislation, the reimbursement rate will  
          become the following on July 1, 2010:
                 zero if the entire cost incurred per mile of levee is  
               $1,000 or less (no change)
                 50% of any costs incurred in excess of $1,000 per mile  
               of levee would be paid by the State.

          According to the author, "the Delta levee system serves both  
          local and substantial State interests.  Regardless of future  
          decisions on [water] conveyance within the Delta, in the near  
          term, Delta levees will continue to be the sole tool for water  
          conveyance for the SWP and CVP.  The Delta Levee Subvention  
          Program's 75-25 cost-sharing formula has allowed local  
          reclamation districts to afford to maintain and improve their  
          levees, thereby protecting the system.  If the formula returns  
          to a 50-50 split, then the many small districts with a limited  
          economic base would not be able to afford to maintain the Delta  
          levees adequately."

          Last year's historic Delta legislation SB7X 1 (Simitian, c. 5,  
          Statutes of the 7th Extraordinary Session, 2009 - 2010) creates  
          the Delta Stewardship Council (Council) and requires the Council  


                                                                  SB 808
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          to develop a Delta Plan which includes priorities for levee  
          investments within the Delta.  The Delta Plan is due January 1,  
          2012.  Although the author's office originally sought a 6-year  
          extension of the program, "in order to sustain Delta maintenance  
          programs" during the transition to the Delta Plan, the author's  
          office subsequently amended the bill to extend the date to 2013  
          and include Delta Plan consistency language.  As the author  
          states, SB 808 continues the Delta Levee Subventions program and  
          supports levee maintenance while "the State reassesses the  
          direction it will pursue in protecting the Delta."

          General Fund contributions to this program are capped at $2  
          million per year.



          Association of California Water Agencies
          California Central Valley Flood Control Association
          California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley
          Contra Costa County 
          County of Sacramento
          East Bay Municipal Utility District
          Five-Delta County Coalition
          North Delta Water Agency
          Regional Council of Rural Counties
          San Diego County Water Authority
          Valley Ag Water Coalition


           None on file.
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Tina Leahy / W., P. & W. / (916)