CalMutuals Monthly Newsletter
December 2016


Thanks to your continued support, CalMutuals continues to be a growing voice for small systems statewide!

In 2016, CalMutuals JPRIMA became the first joint powers insurance authority of its kind in the nation to provide affordable insurance to mutual water companies. In partnership with CalMutuals JPRIMA, the Association continues to increase in membership - having grown by over 200% within 3 years. Our continued growth has helped the Association increase its presence in Sacramento and within stakeholder organizations not typically engaged on issues impacting small systems.


WHAT'S AHEAD FOR 2017?

Water continues to be at the forefront of concerns as the state moves into its 7th consecutive year of drought.  Under the direction of the Board of Directors, along with the Legislative, Regulatory Affairs, and Budget & Finance Committees, CalMutuals staff will continue to monitor ongoing issues impacting mutual water companies.

Current priorities include:

1.  Water Conservation Executive Order B-37-16: The State Water Board’s existing emergency regulations are set to expire on February 28, 2017.  On May 9th 2016, Governor Brown signed Executive Order B-37-16 on May 9, 2016 (the “Executive Order”) setting forth continuing restrictions on water use in California.  That Executive Order requires California’s urban water suppliers (i.e., those water agencies who supply water to more than 3,000 customers or provide more than 3,000 acre feet of water per year) to meet new water use targets.  

The State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Water Resources, the Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission and the Department of Food and Agriculture have jointly developed a framework entitled “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life” (the “Framework”) to satisfy and implement that Executive Order.  The Framework establishes a means for achieving water savings that take into account each water supplier’s individual characteristics. The Framework was issued on November 30, 2016. In December, CalMutuals submitted a comment letter outlining concerns regarding the: (1)incompatibility of water budgets with shareholders; (2) water use not being adequately addressed in relation to the water use targets; and (3) any potential impact on water rights from reduced production.

2. AB 401 – Low Income Water Rate Assistance: The Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Act established through Assembly Bill 401 (Dodd, 2015) directs the State Water Resources Control Board (the “Water Board”) to prepare a plan, in collaboration with the State Board of Equalization, that covers funding and implementation of a Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program. In accordance to AB 401’s legislative directives, the Water Board facilitated scoping sessions around the state to receive input on the development of the low-income water rate program plan. CalMutuals staff was present at the October session and asked what the threshold for “low income” would be and informed the Water Board’s staff of the conflict that a low-income water rate assistance rate may create for mutual water companies -  which are not-for-profit entities that are not eligible to receive subsidies.
 
3. California State Recognition of Tax Exemption Status for Mutual Water Companies: In 2016, CalMutuals advocated in favor of including legislative language in a budget trailer bill to address the lack of the state’s recognition of a tax exemption status for mutual water companies. The budget trailer bill, a bill that circumvents the legislative committee process, containing language (water code changes) to address this issue did not make it to the Governor’s desk due to a myriad of issues with other priorities within the bill. This year, CalMutuals hopes to partner with interested parties to address this issue; thereby alleviating concerns raised by mutual water companies currently applying for grant funding.

As our members' trusted source for information on legislative and regulatory issues impacting mutual water companies, we look forward to continuing to advocate on your behalf, to find innovative approaches to addressing ongoing issues, and to ensuring that mutual water companies have a “seat at the table.”

We appreciate your continued support and look forward to continuing to serve our members in 2017.

Sincerely,

Lisa, Adan & Denise

 
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Copyright © 2016 California Association of Mutual Water Companies, All rights reserved.


To contact us, please call (714) 449-8403 or email info@calmutuals.org

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