On November 9, the California Water Association submitted a comment letter to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on the draft Cleanup and Abatement Account (CAA) Funding Program Guidelines (Guidelines). The Guidelines will be used to solicit applications, prioritize and evaluate project proposals, and award funding for projects that clean up or abate the effects of waste on surface and ground water or address an urgent drinking water need.
Since CWA member companies apply for CAA funding as the need arises, CWA voiced support for the proposed Guidelines with one exception. Under Section B.3. Eligibility Requirements, CWA requested the addition of a second sentence to Subsection B.3.1.(4) Eligible Grant Applicants:
(4) A community water system that serves a Disadvantaged Community (DAC). The Executive Director of the SWRCB, at his or her discretion and on a case-by-case basis, may deem a community water system eligible for funding in order to assist a community that is not a DAC.
CWA explained that this revision would assist community water systems serving populations that are at or just above the DAC definition in Section 79505.5 of the California Water Code with their technical, managerial, and financial (TMF) capabilities and associated SWRCB TMF Assessments. The revision also would serve to minimize the costs and rate impacts for customers of community water systems that are not disadvantaged relative to their public agency counterparts.
The SWRCB staff responded favorably to the request but noted that a legislative change would be required. At a December 11 open meeting during which the Guidelines were approved, CWA Executive Director Jack Hawks addressed SWRCB members directly on the request saying he would work with the SWRCB’s legislative staff in seeking amendments to the California Water Code in 2019.