BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     SB 814


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          Date of Hearing:  June 14, 2016


                  ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON WATER, PARKS, AND WILDLIFE


                                 Marc Levine, Chair


          SB  
          814 (Hill) - As Amended June 6, 2016


          SENATE VOTE:  23-11


          SUBJECT:  Drought:  excessive water use:  urban retail water  
          suppliers


          SUMMARY: This bill prohibits excessive water use by a  
          residential customer during specified emergency drought  
          conditions.  Additionally, if specified conditions are met,  
          requires urban retail water suppliers to establish a method to  
          identify and discourage excessive water use.  Specifically, this  
          bill: 





          1)Only applies to an urban retail water supplier under any of  
            the following conditions:



             a)   There is a statewide drought emergency declared by the  
               Governor and the urban retail water supplier is in a state  
               of action in response to a local water supply shortage.








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             b)   An urban retail water supplier is in a state of action  
               in response to a local water supply shortage.


             c)   An urban retail water supplier is affected during a  
               local drought emergency declared by the Governor.





          1)Prohibits excessive water use by residential customers in a  
            single-family residence or in multiunit housing that is  
            individually metered.

          2)Requires an urban retail water supplier to establish a method  
            to identify and discourage excessive water use through either  
            a rate structure, or; by ordinance, rule, tariff condition, or  
            procedure.

          3)Applies specific conditions to how an ordinance, rule, tariff  
            condition, or procedure developed by an urban retail water  
            supplier must apply in fully metered service areas, including:
          
                a)      what is to be evaluated for excessive use,
                b)      a process for notification of excessive use,
                c)      a process to appeal an excessive use violation,  
                  and 
                d)      permits a fine of up to $500 for an excessive use  
                  violation for each hundred cubic feet or 748 gallons of  
                  water used.
          


          EXISTING LAW:
              
          1)Declares, in the California Constitution, that:

             a)   The water resources of the state are to be put to  








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               beneficial use to the fullest extent of which they are  
               capable.
             b)   The waste or unreasonable use or unreasonable method of  
               use of water is to be prevented.
             c)   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.

          1)Authorizes any public entity that supplies water at retail or  
            wholesale 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. 

          2)Provides that a violation of a requirement of a water  
            conservation program is a misdemeanor punishable by  
            imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 30 days, or by  
            a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both.

          3)Requires urban water management plans to, among other things,  
            include a water shortage contingency analysis that has stages  
            of action to be taken in response to water supply shortages.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible if any state  
          costs.





          COMMENTS:  This bill prohibits excessive water use by a  
          residential customer during specified emergency drought  
          conditions.  Additionally, under those specified conditions,  
          this bill requires urban retail water suppliers to establish a  
          method to identify and discourage excessive water use.  










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          1)Author's Statement: This bill ensures that no one can buy  
            their way out of the drought during a drought emergency. While  
            most Californians have reduced their water use and face stiff  
            penalties for waste, there are some Californians that use as  
            much water as they want without any repercussions. 

            Statewide, there are hundreds of households using more than 1  
            million gallons of water a year, far above the average level  
            of use. The biggest user consumed almost 12 million gallons in  
            one year.


            With few exceptions, water agencies do not have policies to  
            target and reduce this excessive water use. SB 814 fixes this  
            gap by simply requiring every water agency to have a policy in  
            place to curb excessive water use.





          2)Background:  In response to drought, since 2014 and now  
            permanently, a fine of up to $500 may be assessed for wasteful  
            water use that includes:



                 using a hose to wash a car without an automatic shutoff  
               valve,
                 washing down a driveway or sidewalk,


                 watering outdoor landscaped area within 48 hours of a  
               measurable rain event,










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                 watering lawns in a manner that causes runoff, or


                 watering outdoor landscapes on the wrong day or during  
               the wrong time of day.





            There are 411 urban water suppliers in the state and since  
            June of 2015, according to the State Resources Water Control  
            Board, they have issued an average of 8,900 penalties per  
            month for either water waste or drought surcharges.  Despite  
            these fines on typical water users there is no requirement for  
            penalties on individuals who are heavy water users.





            While local agencies can prohibit excessive water use, this  
            bill makes it a requirement that there is a process to do so  
            when there are local water shortage conditions.  This bill  
            allows local discretion in the development of the  
            identification and enforcement that occurs locally against  
            excessive water use.





            While there is limited anecdotal evidence, several newspaper  
            articles suggest that, when penalties on heavy water users  
            have been put in place there has been a significant increase  
            in water conservation.











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          1)Suggested technical amendments:  These are intended only to  
            make the reading of the bill more clear and are not intended  
            to change the substance of the bill. 
          


            Amendment 1: The existing language in Section 366 (a) should  
            be rewritten to read as follows:





            During periods described in subdivision (a) of Section 367,  
            excessive water use is prohibited by a residential customer in  
            a single-family residence or by a customer in a multiunit  
            housing complex in which each unit is individually metered or  
            submetered by an urban retail water supplier.





            Amendment 2: Section 366 (b)(2) should be restructured as  
          follows:





            (2) (A) Establishing an excessive water use ordinance, rule,  
            or tariff condition, or amending an existing ordinance, rule,  
            or tariff condition, that includes a definition of or a  
            procedure to identify and address excessive water use by  
            metered single-family residential customers and customers in  
            multiunit housing complexes in which each unit is individually  
            metered or submetered and may include a process to issue  








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            written warnings to a customer and perform a site audit of  
            customer water usage prior to deeming the customer in  
            violation. 
              (B) For purposes of subparagraph (A) excessive water use  
            shall be measured in terms of either gallons or hundreds of  
            cubic feet of water used during the urban retail water  
            supplier's regular billing cycle. In establishing the  
            definition of excessive use, the urban retail water supplier  
            may consider factors that include, but are not limited to, all  
            of the following:
            (i) Average daily use.
            (ii) Full-time occupancy of households.
            (iii) Amount of landscaped land on a property.
            (iv) Rate of evapotranspiration.
            (v) Seasonal weather changes.
              (C) A violation of an excessive use ordinance, rule, or  
            tariff condition established pursuant to subparagraph (A)  
            shall result in an infraction or administrative civil penalty.  
            The penalty for a violation may be based on conditions  
            identified by the urban retail water supplier and may include,  
            but is not limited to, a fine of up to five hundred dollars  
            ($500) for each hundred cubic feet of water, or 748 gallons,  
            used above the excessive water use threshold established by  
            the urban retail water supplier in a billing cycle. 
            (i) Any fine imposed pursuant to this subparagraph shall be  
            added to the customer's water bill and is due and payable with  
            that water bill. 
            (ii) Each urban retail water supplier shall have a process for  
            nonpayment of the fine, which shall be consistent with due  
            process and reasonably similar to the water supplier's  
            existing process for nonpayment of a water bill.
               (D) (i) Consistent with due process, an urban retail water  
            supplier shall establish a process and conditions for the  
            appeal of a fine imposed pursuant to subparagraph (C) whereby  
            the customer may contest the imposition of the fine for  
            excessive water use.
            (ii) As part of the appeal process, the customer shall be  
            provided with an opportunity to provide evidence  that there  
            was no excessive water use  , or of a bona fide reason for the  








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            excessive water use, including evidence of a water leak, a  
            medical reason, or any other reasonable justification for the  
            water use, as determined by the urban retail water supplier.
            (iii)  As part of the appeal process, the urban retail water  
            supplier shall provide documentation demonstrating the  
            excessive water usage.
           


            This bill was amended and went into print on June 7, 2016.   
            With the exception of the East Bay Municipal Utility District  
            at the time of this analysis all positions represented are to  
            previous versions of the bill.  It is unknown if the recent  
            changes to the bill change the previously stated positions. 





          2)Supporting Arguments (to previous version): During the state's  
            worst drought in recorded history, water users can be fined  
            $500 for infractions such as watering on the wrong day, but  
            residential water users that use an excessive amount of water  
            are not subject to any fines.  The great majority of  
            Californias are making sacrifices to conserve but there is a  
            segment of residential water users that appear to be using as  
            much water as they want.  For those users, extraordinary  
            measures are needed to provide the impetus to curtail  
            consumption.
          


          3)Opposing Arguments (to previous version): All local agencies  
            should have a water shortage contingency plan adopted by their  
            locally elected governing bodies that authorize the use of  
            fines for excessive use.  These fining structures should be  
            locally developed to allow for a progressive penalty structure  
            that provides appropriate flexibility and emphasizes  
            education, outreach and customer service.  Existing law allows  








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            for fines to be imposed for violations of water conservation  
            mandates.  Another state law is not needed.  A locally  
            controlled approach toward water management will achieve  
            better long-term water use efficiency, a more educated  
            customer base, and a reduction of excessive water use.  



            REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:


          


            Support (To Previous Version)


            California League of Conservation Voters


            Clean Water Action


            East Bay Municipal Utility District 


            Sierra Club California





            Opposition (To Previous Version)


            Association of California Water Agencies (unless amended)


            City of Roseville 








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            Desert Water Agency


            El Dorado Irrigation District


            Mesa Water District


            Regional Water Authority




          Analysis Prepared by:Ryan Ojakian / W., P., & W. / (916)  
          319-2096