Amended in Senate March 17, 2016

Senate BillNo. 814


Introduced by Senator Hill

January 4, 2016


An act to amend Section 6254.16 of the Government Code, and to add Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 365) to Division 1 of the Water Code, relating to water.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 814, as amended, Hill. Drought: excessive water use: urban retail water suppliers.

The California Constitutionbegin delete requires the reasonable and beneficial use of water.end deletebegin insert declares the policy that the water resources of the state be put to beneficial use to the fullest extent of which they are capable, that the waste or unreasonable use or unreasonable method of use of water be prevented, and that the conservation of such waters is to be exercised with a view to the reasonable and beneficial use of the waters in the interest of the people and for the public welfare.end insert Existing law requires the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board to take all appropriate proceedings or actions to prevent waste, unreasonable use, unreasonable method of use, or unreasonable method of diversion of water in this state. Existing law authorizes any public entity, as defined, that supplies water at retail or wholesale for the benefit of persons within the service area or area of jurisdiction of the public entity to, by ordinance or resolution, adopt and enforce a water conservation program to reduce the quantity of water used for the purpose of conserving the water supplies of the public entity. Existing law provides that a violation of a requirement of a water conservation program is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment inbegin delete theend deletebegin insert aend insert county jail for not more than 30 days, or bybegin insert aend insert fine not exceeding $1,000, or both.

This bill would declare that excessive waterbegin delete use, as defined by each urban retail water supplier, is a waste or unreasonable use of water. This bill would prohibit excessive water use by a residential customer andend deletebegin insert use during a state of emergency based on drought conditions by a residential customer, as specified, is prohibited. This bill would require each urban retail water supplier to establish a method to identify and restrict excessive water use. This bill would authorize as a method to identify and restrict excessive water use the establishment of a rate structure that includes block tiers, water budgets, penalties for prohibited uses, or rate surcharges over and above base rates for excessive water use by residential customers. This billend insert wouldbegin insert authorize as a method to identify and restrict excessive water use the establishment of an excessive water use ordinance, rule, or tariff condition that includes a definition of excessive water use, as prescribed, and wouldend insert make a violation of thisbegin delete prohibitionend deletebegin insert excessive water use ordinance, rule, or tariff conditionend insert an infraction punishable by a fine of at least $500 per 100 cubic feet of waterbegin insert or per 748 gallonsend insert used above the excessive water usebegin delete definitionend deletebegin insert threshold established by the urban retail water supplierend insert in a billing cycle. By creating a new infraction, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

begin insert end insert

This bill would provide that these provisions apply only during a period for which the Governor has issued a proclamation of a state of emergency based on drought conditions.

The California Public Records Act requires that public records, as defined, be open to inspection at all times during the hours of a state or local agency and that every person has a right to inspect any public record, with specified exceptions. Existing law prohibits the act from being construed to require the disclosure of certain information concerning utility customers of local agencies,begin delete with specified exceptions.end deletebegin insert except that disclosure of the name, utility usage data, and the home address of the utility customer who is the subject of the request and who the local agency has determined has used utility services in a manner inconsistent with applicable local utility usage policies is required to be made available.end insert

This bill wouldbegin delete require certain information about residential customers that violate the prohibition on excessive water use to be made available under the act upon request.end deletebegin insert revise this exception to require, upon request, the disclosure of the name and utility usage data of a utility customer who a local agency determines has used utility services in a manner inconsistent with applicable local utility usage policies, with the home address of the customer being disclosed only with the customer’s consent.end insert By increasing the duties of local officials, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires local agencies, for the purpose of ensuring public access to the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies, to comply with a statutory enactment that amends or enacts laws relating to public records or open meetings if that enactment contains findings demonstrating that the enactment furthers the constitutional requirements relating to this purpose.

This bill would make legislative findings to that effect.

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 no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

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

P3    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 6254.16 of the Government Code is
2amended to read:

3

6254.16.  

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require
4the disclosure of the name, credit history, utility usage data, home
5address, or telephone number of utility customers of local agencies,
6except that disclosure of name, utility usage data, and the home
7address of utility customers of local agencies shall be made
8available upon request as follows:

9(a) To an agent or authorized family member of the person to
10whom the information pertains.

11(b) To an officer or employee of another governmental agency
12when necessary for the performance of its official duties.

13(c) Upon court order or the request of a law enforcement agency
14relative to an ongoing investigation.

15(d) Upon determination by the local agency thatbegin delete theend deletebegin insert aend insert utility
16customerbegin delete who is the subject of the requestend delete has used utility services
17in a manner inconsistent with applicable local utility usagebegin delete policies.end delete
P4    1begin insert policies, if the home address of the customer is not disclosed
2without the customer’s consent.end insert

3(e) Upon determination by the local agency that the utility
4customer who is the subject of the request is an elected or appointed
5official with authority to determine the utility usage policies of the
6local agency, provided that the home address of an appointed
7official shall not be disclosed without his or her consent.

8(f) Upon determination by the local agency that the public
9interest in disclosure of the information clearly outweighs the
10public interest in nondisclosure.

begin delete

11(g) Regarding residential customers that violate the prohibition
12on excessive water use described in Section 367 of the Water Code.

end delete
13

SEC. 2.  

Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 365) is added
14to Division 1 of the Water Code, to read:

15 

16Chapter  3.3. Excessive Residential Water Use During
17Drought
18

 

19

365.  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that this chapter
20begin delete is in furtherance of Section 2 of Article X of the California
21Constitution as intended to prevent the unreasonable use or the
22waste of water and to protectend delete
begin insert furthers important state policies of
23encouraging water conservation and protectingend insert
water resources
24in the interest of the people and for the public welfare.

25(b) For the purposes of this chapter, “urban retail water supplier”
26has the same meaning as provided in Section 10608.12.

begin delete
27

366.  

(a) (1) Each urban retail water supplier shall establish a
28definition of excessive water use by a customer of the urban retail
29water supplier that considers, but is not necessarily limited to
30addressing, all of the following factors:

31(A) Average daily use.

32(B) Full-time occupancy of households.

33(C) Amount of landscaped land on a property.

34(D) Rate of evapotranspiration.

35(2) An urban retail water supplier may also consider seasonal
36weather changes when establishing a definition of excessive water
37use by a customer of the urban retail water supplier.

38(b) An urban retail water supplier shall define and measure
39excessive water use in terms of hundreds of cubic feet of water
40used during the water supplier’s regular billing cycle.

P5    1(c) An urban retail water supplier shall adopt the definition of
2excessive water use and make any other changes necessary to
3implement this chapter by adopting a new rule or ordinance or by
4amending an existing rule or ordinance relating to drought or water
5conservation.

6

367.  

(a) Excessive water use is a waste or unreasonable use
7of water.

8(b) Excessive water use by a residential customer is prohibited.

9(c) A violation of subdivision (b) is an infraction punishable by
10a fine of at least five hundred dollars ($500) per hundred cubic
11feet of water used above the excessive water use definition in a
12billing cycle. Any fine imposed pursuant to this subdivision shall
13be added to the customer’s water bill and is due and payable with
14that water bill. Each urban retail water supplier shall have a process
15for nonpayment of the fine, which shall be consistent with the
16water supplier’s existing process for nonpayment of a water bill.
17That process may include, but is not necessarily limited to, the
18imposition of nonpayment penalties, interruption of water service,
19and placing of a lien on the customer’s real property.

20(d) A violation of subdivision (b) where a demonstrable water
21leak at the residence occurred and a fix to that leak is underway
22shall not be punishable pursuant to subdivision (c). Other
23reasonable justifications for excessive water use shall be considered
24consistent with subdivision (e).

25(e) (1) An urban retail water supplier shall establish a process
26for the appeal of a violation of subdivision (b) whereby the
27customer may contest the imposition of any fine or penalty for
28excessive water use.

29(2) As part of the appeal process, the customer shall be provided
30with an opportunity to provide evidence of a bona fide reason for
31the excessive water use, including evidence of a water leak meeting
32the requirements of subdivision (d), a medical reason, or any other
33reasonable justification for the water use.

end delete
begin insert
34

begin insert366.end insert  

(a) Excessive water use during a state of emergency based
35on drought conditions by a residential customer in a single-family
36residence or by a customer in a multiunit housing complex in which
37each unit is individually metered or submetered by the water
38supplier is prohibited.

P6    1(b) Each urban retail water supplier shall establish a method
2to identify and restrict excessive water use, through one of the
3following options:

4(1) Establishing a rate structure that includes block tiers, water
5budgets, penalties for prohibited uses, or rate surcharges over and
6above base rates for excessive water use by a residential water
7customer.

8(2) (A) Establishing an excessive water use ordinance, rule, or
9tariff condition, or amending an existing ordinance, rule, or tariff
10condition, that includes a definition of excessive water use by
11single-family residential customers and customers in multiunit
12housing complexes in which each unit is individually metered or
13submetered and may include a process to issue written warnings
14to a customer and perform a site audit of customer water usage
15prior to deeming the customer in violation. Excessive water use
16shall be measured in terms of either gallons or hundreds of cubic
17feet of water used during the urban retail water supplier’s regular
18billing cycle. In establishing the definition of excessive use, the
19water supplier may consider factors that include, but are not
20limited to, all of the following:

21(i) Average daily use.

22(ii) Full-time occupancy of households.

23(iii) Amount of landscaped land on a property.

24(iv) Rate of evapotranspiration.

25(v) Seasonal weather changes.

26(B) A violation of an excessive use ordinance, rule, or tariff
27condition established pursuant to subparagraph (A) is an infraction
28punishable by a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500) per
29hundred cubic feet of water, or per 748 gallons, used above the
30excessive water use threshold established by the urban retail water
31supplier in a billing cycle. Any fine imposed pursuant to this
32subparagraph shall be added to the customer’s water bill and is
33due and payable with that water bill. Each urban retail water
34supplier shall have a process for nonpayment of the fine, which
35shall be consistent with the water supplier’s existing process for
36nonpayment of a water bill.

37(C) A violation of an excessive water use ordinance, rule, or
38tariff condition where a demonstrable water leak at the residence
39occurred and a repair to eliminate that leak is underway shall be
40considered as a basis for granting an appeal and shall be
P7    1considered for waiver of the charges consistent with the urban
2retail water supplier’s excessive water use ordinance and existing
3policies for leak adjustments. Other reasonable justifications for
4excessive water use shall be considered by the urban retail water
5supplier consistent with clause (i) of subparagraph (D).

6(D) (i) An urban retail water supplier shall establish a process
7for the appeal of a fine imposed pursuant to subparagraph (B)
8whereby the customer may contest the imposition of the fine for
9excessive water use.

10(ii) As part of the appeal process, the customer shall be provided
11with an opportunity to provide evidence of a bona fide reason for
12the excessive water use, including evidence of a water leak in
13accordance with subparagraph (C), a medical reason, or any other
14reasonable justification for the water use, as determined by the
15urban retail water supplier.

end insert
16

begin delete368.end delete
17begin insert367.end insert  

This chapter applies only during a period for which the
18Governor has issued a proclamation of a state of emergency under
19the California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing
20with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government
21Code) based on drought conditions.

22

SEC. 3.  

The Legislature finds and declares that Section 1 of
23this act, which amends Section 6254.16 of the Government Code,
24furthers, within the meaning of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b)
25of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, the purposes
26of that constitutional section as it relates to the right of public
27access to the meetings of local public bodies or the writings of
28local public officials and local agencies. Pursuant to paragraph (7)
29of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California
30Constitution, the Legislature makes the following findings:

31The Legislature finds that it is in the public’s interest to be made
32aware of excessive water use during a drought in order to help
33begin delete prevent the unreasonable use or waste of waterend deletebegin insert promote water
34conservation andend insert
to protect water resources in the interest of the
35people and for the public welfare.

36

SEC. 4.  

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
37Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
38the costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district
39under this act would result from a legislative mandate that is within
40the scope of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article
P8    1I of the California Constitution or because the costs that may be
2incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred
3because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a
4crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction,
5within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or
6changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6
7of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.



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