Assembly Bill 2050 – the Small System Water Authority Act of 2018 – has passed the California Assembly and the California Senate and now awaits Governor Jerry Brown’s signature. Co-sponsored by Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) and the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA), the bill seeks to address failing water systems in California by authorizing the creation of small system water authorities that will have powers to absorb, improve, and competently operate noncompliant public water systems. These new Small System Water Authorities would recognize greater economies of scale, additional public financing opportunities, and bolster statewide oversight to foster compliance with state and federal drinking water standards.
Written by Assemblywoman Anna Caballero (D-30th Assembly District-Salinas), AB 2050 was first approved by the State Senate on Aug. 22. It was passed by the State Assembly earlier this week.
If consolidation of a water system is deemed to be not appropriate or not technically and economically feasible, AB 2050 authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board to contract with an administrator to provide administrative and managerial services to specific public water systems and to order the designated public water system to accept administrative and managerial services, as specified.
“We sincerely hope that Gov. Brown supports AB 2050 and signs it into law,” EMWD President David Slawson said. “The common challenges with failing systems can be tied to foundational issues such as small customer bases; lack of financial; managerial and technical expertise; and inexperience in resolving complex challenges such as groundwater contamination. AB 2050 provides a cost-effective solution, restores public trust and addresses the public health crisis associated with failing water systems.”
The full context of the bill can be found at: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2050.