Sept. 8, 2017 – -Legislation that will create a “Clean Water Fund” by assessing retail water users and fertilizers has been moved to the Rules Committee and made a two-year bill. Even with the fees, some in ag supported the legislation because it would provide clean drinking water to many of the communities we serve as well as provide enforcement protection from the State Water Board against farmers adding nitrogen to lands overlying nitrate-heavy aquifers.
SB 623 is a bi-partisan effort to help provide safe and reliable drinking water to residents in disadvantaged communities throughout California. Specifically SB 623 aims to do two things:
Raises $140 million annually to clean-up contaminated water sources in hundreds of disadvantaged communities – many of which are in the Central Valley – – with $30 million from a fertilizer assessment, dairy and livestock fees, and $110 million from a fee on retail water hookups.
Assist over 300 small water systems upgrade their water facilities to provide safe and reliable drinking water for their residents. Over 100 of these small water systems serve disadvantaged residents.
SB 623 is supported by a diverse coalition including community health, environmental, and agricultural groups who are coming together to make short and long-term drinking water solutions available to more than 1 million low-income Californians who do not have access to safe and affordable drinking water. Opposition includes the Association of California Water Agencies, tax groups and a few business interests.