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Senate Bill 414 (Caballero) – The Small System Water Authority Act of 2019
Addressing Governance Reform, Without a Statewide Water Tax

Legislative Update as of May 24, 2019

SB 414 has passed out of the Senate, unopposed, and is headed to the Assembly where it will be taken up in two policy committees and then the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

We are excited that our Senate leadership supports this sustainable and responsible approach to the provision of safe drinking water for all Californians. But the conversation is not over! As SB 414 makes its way to the Assembly, we must continue education efforts regarding this #BetterSolution that does not require a statewide tax on water that will impact your pocketbook.


EMWD believes that failing systems need a sustainable approach to operate safely and responsibly, and WITHOUT the need for a permanent statewide water tax. Senate Bill 414 can help provide all Californians with access to safe and reliable drinking water, now and into the future.

In an effort to propose a long-term method for providing all Californians with clean water, EMWD and the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) have co-sponsored SB 414, the Small System Water Authority Act of 2019. SB 414 proposes to merge multiple, non-compliant water systems—that are close in general proximity but don’t have to share boundaries—into larger and more robust systems that can operate together for lower cost overall. The newly formed special district would then have better financing opportunities due to a larger customer base. The collective customer base provides increased access to state grants and municipal bonds or other funding mechanisms which are historically used by larger public agencies. These newly created special districts would also be held to public agency accountability standards, which would ensure funds are used appropriately to develop necessary infrastructure to treat contamination issues so that safe and affordable water is delivered to customers.

SB 414 Legislative Fact Sheet (May 2019)

Watch: The Conversation Surrounding a Proposed Tax on Tap Water Continues


California Municipal Utilities Association (Co-Sponsor)

Eastern Municipal Water District (Co-Sponsor)

Association of California Water Agencies (Support and Amend)

California Association of Mutual Water Companies

Calleguas Municipal Water District

City of Garden Grove

City of Menifee

City of Murrieta

City of Newport Beach

City of Roseville

City of Torrance

Cucamonga Valley Water District

Economic Development Coalition

El Toro Water District

Emerald Bay Service District

Independent Special Districts of Orange County

Irvine Ranch Water District

Laguna Beach County Water District

Las Virgenes Municipal Water District

Mesa Water District

Moreno Valley Chamber of Commerce

Municipal Water District of Orange County

Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce

Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District

Rural County Representatives of California

Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority

Santa Margarita Water District

South Coast Water District

Southwest California Legislative Council

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Three Valleys Municipal Water District

Valley Center Municipal Water District

Western Municipal Water District

Yorba Linda Water District


Clean Water Action (Oppose Unless Amended)

Community Water Center (Oppose Unless Amended)

Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability (Oppose Unless Amended)

Rural Communities Assistance Corporation (Oppose Unless Amended)

Self-Help Enterprises (Oppose Unless Amended)