ROWLAND WATER DISTRICT KEEPING AN EYE ON
POTENTIAL ‘WATER TAX’ LEGISLATION THAT COULD IMPACT CUSTOMERS
State Senate Bill 623 Would Raise Money for Water System Upgrades,
Private Wells Serving Disadvantaged Communities and Households
May 30, 2018 – Rowland Water District officials are monitoring the introduction of legislation that could impact customer rates or otherwise affect the state’s water industry. State Senate Bill 623, authored by Senator Bill Monning of Carmel, would establish a first-ever tax on drinking water to raise money for upgrades to small community water systems, and to private wells that serve disadvantaged communities and households. The bill is now included in the Brown Administration budget trailer bill for 2018.
“The money collected from this tax will be deposited into the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund,” says Tom Coleman, Rowland Water District General Manager. “Local water agencies would collect the tax and send it to Sacramento to be allocated by the State Water Resources Control Board. In collaboration with local health officials, The Board would develop a map of areas where drinking water does not meet state and federal standards, and it is these areas that would be eligible for funding,” he explains.
The bill would levy a tax of 95 cents per month on the bills of retail water customers and up to $10 per month for businesses. It also calls for fertilizer and dairy fees to help more than 300 communities with water quality and contamination issues, many of them in California’s Central Valley. That money could also be used for short-term fixes such as bottled water for communities in need. The amount of this tax could be increased each year and is expected to generate close to $110 million per year.
A February 2018 statewide survey on behalf of the Association of California Water Agencies found that 73 percent of voters oppose the legislation, instead preferring to use existing funding sources to improve water quality for those communities needing assistance.
“We encourage our customers to reach out with any questions or concerns they may have about this new legislation and how it could potentially impact their water rates,” adds Coleman. “Education is the key here, and it is important that our valued consumers be informed about this process.”
To learn more about State Senate Bill 623, call Rowland Water District at (562) 697-1726 or visit the District’s website at www.rowlandwater.com