BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER
                             Senator Fran Pavley, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:            SB 814          Hearing Date:    August 10,  
          2016
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          |Author:    |Hill                   |           |                 |
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          |Version:   |June 21, 2016                                        |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
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          |Consultant:|Dennis O'Connor                                      |
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            Subject:  Drought:  excessive water use:  urban retail water  
                                      suppliers

          BACKGROUND AND EXISTING LAW
          1.The California Constitution declares that:
                 The water resources of the state are to be put to  
               beneficial use to the fullest extent of which they are  
               capable.
                 The waste or unreasonable use or unreasonable method of  
               use of water is to be prevented.
                 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.

          2.Existing law authorizes any public entity 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 further 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.Under the Urban Water Management Planning Act, urban water  
            agencies are to update their urban water management plans by  







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            December 31 in years ending in 0 or 5.  Among other things,  
            the update is to include an urban water shortage contingency  
            analysis, which describes the actions the urban water agency  
            would take in response to water supply shortages.

          4.Governor Brown has made a series of emergency declarations and  
            executive orders regarding the ongoing drought.  In  
            particular, in April 2015, the Governor issued an executive  
            order that, among other things, directed the State Water  
            Resources Control Board to impose restrictions to achieve a 25  
            percent reduction in potable urban water usage through  
            February 28, 2016.  The State Board has adopted regulations  
            regarding achieving that reduction, including the  
            establishment of penalties for failure to comply.






































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          PROPOSED LAW
          1)Prohibit, during specific types of drought emergencies,  
            excessive water use by metered residential customers.   
            Applicable drought emergencies are:

             a)   Periods for which the Governor has issued a proclamation  
               of a state of emergency based on statewide drought  
               conditions for which an urban retail water supplier has  
               moved to a stage of action under the water supplier's  
               contingency plan that requires mandatory water use  
               reductions.

             b)   Periods for which an urban retail water supplier has  
               moved to a stage of action in response to a local water  
               supply shortage condition under the water supplier's  
               contingency plan that requires mandatory water use  
               reductions.

             c)   Periods for which the Governor has issued a proclamation  
               of a state of emergency based on local drought conditions.

          2)Require each urban retail water supplier, except those not  
            fully metered, to establish a method to identify and  
            discourage excessive water use, through one of the following  
            options:

             a)   Establishing a rate structure that includes block tiers,  
               water budgets, or rate surcharges over and above base rates  
               for excessive water use by a residential water customer.

             b)   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 residential customers.  Under this option, urban  
               retail water suppliers:
               i)     Must measure excessive water use in terms of either  
                 gallons or hundreds of cubic feet of water used during  
                 the urban retail water supplier's regular billing cycle.
               ii)    May consider, in establishing the definition of  
                 excessive use, factors that include, but are not limited  
                 to, all of the following:
                           Average daily use.








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                           Full-time occupancy of households.
                           Amount of landscaped land on a property.
                           Rate of evapotranspiration.
                           Seasonal weather changes.
               i)     Must issue an infraction or administrative civil  
                 penalty for violations of an excessive use ordinance etc.  
                 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.
               ii)    Must, consistent with due process, establish a  
                 process and conditions for the appeal of a fine imposed  
                 pursuant to an excessive use ordinance etc. whereby the  
                 customer may contest the imposition of the fine for  
                 excessive water use.

          1)Provide that an urban retail water supplier that is not fully  
            metered:

             a)   Is exempt from having to establish a method to identify  
               and discourage excessive water use (as described above in  
               2). An urban retail water supplier would be required to  
               comply with those provisions when all of the water  
               supplier's residential water service connections are being  
               billed based on metered water usage.

             b)   Is required to prohibit water use practices by an  
               ordinance, resolution, rule, or tariff condition that  
               imposes penalties for prohibited uses of water supplied by  
               the water supplier. The urban retail water supplier may  
               include a process to issue written warnings prior to  
               imposing penalties as well as increased penalty amounts for  
               successive violations.

          2)Provide that the provisions of this bill are in addition to,  
            and do not supersede or limit, any other measures or remedies  
            implemented by an urban retail water supplier.

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT
          According to the author, "SB 814 ensures that no one can buy  
          their way out of the drought during a statewide drought  








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          emergency. At the peak of the drought most Californians reduced  
          their water use and faced stiff penalties for waste, but some  
          Californians used as much water as they wanted without any  
          repercussions. Statewide, hundreds of households used more than  
          1 million gallons of water in a year, far above the average  
          level of use. The biggest user consumed almost 12 million  
          gallons in one year. With a couple of 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."

          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION
          According to the Association of California Water Agencies  
          (ACWA), "with the relaxation in the severity of California's  
          current drought emergency, and the adjustment of emergency  
          conservation regulations by the State Water Resources Control  
          Board (State Water Board), ACWA [has] reevaluated the need for  
          this bill and has concluded that SB 814 would institute an  
          unnecessary mandate and must therefore oppose the bill."

          "[T]he State Water Board approved modifications to the existing  
          emergency water conservation regulation on May 18. The  
          modifications replace the state-imposed mandatory conservation  
          standards with a locally driven, supply-based assessment  
          process. The new regulation recognizes that urban water  
          suppliers have the expertise to self-certify their water supply  
          availability and determine appropriate levels of conservation.  
          ACWA maintains that local control is the most effective path to  
          mitigating the effects of drought and cannot support a top-down  
          statewide approach as proposed in this bill."






















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          COMMENTS
           Assembly amendments.   Amendments taken in the Assembly included  
          both policy and technical/clarifying changes.  Key amendments  
          include:
           Expanding the types of drought emergencies triggering this  
            bill to include:
                 A local water supply shortage condition that requires  
               mandatory water use reductions under the water supplier's  
               contingency plan.
                 Periods for which the Governor has issued a proclamation  
               of a state of emergency based on local drought conditions.

           Adding provisions governing required actions of urban retail  
            water suppliers which are not fully metered.

           Adding administrative civil penalties as an allowable  
            consequence of violating an excessive use ordinance.

           Adding a requirement that, as part of the appeal process, the  
            urban retail water supplier must provide documentation  
            demonstrating the excessive water usage.

           Clarifying that the provisions of this bill are in addition  
            to, and do not supersede or limit, any other measures or  
            remedies implemented by an urban retail water supplier.

           Fining major water users seems to work.   For example, a article  
          in the LA Times last spring documented how despite educational  
          campaigns, usage restrictions, and written notices for people  
          suspected of wasting water, Beverly Hills missed its mandatory  
          25 percent reduction in water use, triggering state fines.   
          However, once the city began penalizing wasteful water users,  
          city water usage fell by 26 percent.  
           
           Not the last severe drought.   While it is true that for at least  
          some areas of the state the drought has eased somewhat, it is  
          also true that there will be severe droughts in the future.   
          Possibly even next year.  This bill proposes putting in place  
          prohibitions on excess urban water use before the next severe  
          drought hits.


          SUPPORT








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          California League of Conservation Voters
          Clean Water Action
          East Bay Municipal Water District
          Sierra Club California

          








          OPPOSITION
          Association of California Water Agencies
          City of Roseville
          Desert Water Agency
          El Dorado Irrigation District
          Mesa Water District
          Municipal Water District of Orange County
          Placer County Water Agency
          Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District
          San Diego County Water Authority
          San Juan Water District
          Santa Margarita Water Agency
          Valley Center Municipal Water District