Bill Text: CA SB814 | 2015-2016 | Regular Session | Introduced

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Drought: excessive water use: urban retail water suppliers.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Passed) 2016-08-29 - Chaptered by Secretary of State. Chapter 230, Statutes of 2016. [SB814 Detail]

Download: California-2015-SB814-Introduced.html
BILL NUMBER: SB 814	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Senator Hill

                        JANUARY 4, 2016

   An act to amend Section 6254.16 of the Government Code, and to add
Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 365) to Division 1 of the Water
Code, relating to water.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   SB 814, as introduced, Hill. Drought: excessive water use: urban
retail water suppliers.
   The California Constitution requires the reasonable and beneficial
use of water. Existing law requires the Department of Water
Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board to take all
appropriate proceedings or actions to prevent waste, unreasonable
use, unreasonable method of use, or unreasonable method of diversion
of water in this state. Existing law authorizes any public entity, as
defined, that supplies water at retail or wholesale for the benefit
of persons within the service area or area of jurisdiction of the
public entity to, by ordinance or resolution, adopt and enforce a
water conservation program to reduce the quantity of water used for
the purpose of conserving the water supplies of the public entity.
Existing law provides that a violation of a requirement of a water
conservation program is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in
the county jail for not more than 30 days, or by fine not exceeding
$1,000, or both.
   This bill would declare that excessive water use, as defined by
each urban retail water supplier, is a waste or unreasonable use of
water. This bill would prohibit excessive water use by a residential
customer and would make a violation of this prohibition an infraction
punishable by a fine of at least $500 per 100 cubic feet of water
used above the excessive water use definition in a billing cycle. By
creating a new infraction, this bill would impose a state-mandated
local program.
   This bill would provide that these provisions apply only during a
period for which the Governor has issued a proclamation of a state of
emergency based on drought conditions.
   The California Public Records Act requires that public records, as
defined, be open to inspection at all times during the hours of a
state or local agency and that every person has a right to inspect
any public record, with specified exceptions. Existing law prohibits
the act from being construed to require the disclosure of certain
information concerning utility customers of local agencies, with
specified exceptions.
   This bill would require certain information about residential
customers that violate the prohibition on excessive water use to be
made available under the act upon request. By increasing the duties
of local officials, the bill would impose a state-mandated local
program.
   The California Constitution requires local agencies, for the
purpose of ensuring public access to the meetings of public bodies
and the writings of public officials and agencies, to comply with a
statutory enactment that amends or enacts laws relating to public
records or open meetings if that enactment contains findings
demonstrating that the enactment furthers the constitutional
requirements relating to this purpose.
   This bill would make legislative findings to that effect.
   The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement.
   This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  Section 6254.16 of the Government Code is amended to
read:
   6254.16.  Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require
the disclosure of the name, credit history, utility usage data, home
address, or telephone number of utility customers of local agencies,
except that disclosure of name, utility usage data, and the home
address of utility customers of local agencies shall be made
available upon request as follows:
   (a) To an agent or authorized family member of the person to whom
the information pertains.
   (b) To an officer or employee of another governmental agency when
necessary for the performance of its official duties.
   (c) Upon court order or the request of a law enforcement agency
relative to an ongoing investigation.
   (d) Upon determination by the local agency that the utility
customer who is the subject of the request has used utility services
in a manner inconsistent with applicable local utility usage
policies.
   (e) Upon determination by the local agency that the utility
customer who is the subject of the request is an elected or appointed
official with authority to determine the utility usage policies of
the local agency, provided that the home address of an appointed
official shall not be disclosed without his or her consent.
   (f) Upon determination by the local agency that the public
interest in disclosure of the information clearly outweighs the
public interest in nondisclosure. 
   (g) Regarding residential customers that violate the prohibition
on excessive water use described in Section 367 of the Water Code.

  SEC. 2.  Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 365) is added to
Division 1 of the Water Code, to read:
      CHAPTER 3.3.  EXCESSIVE RESIDENTIAL WATER USE DURING DROUGHT


   365.  (a) The Legislature finds and declares that this chapter is
in furtherance of Section 2 of Article X of the California
Constitution as intended to prevent the unreasonable use or the waste
of water and to protect water resources in the interest of the
people and for the public welfare.
   (b) For the purposes of this chapter, "urban retail water supplier"
has the same meaning as provided in Section 10608.12.
   366.  (a) (1) Each urban retail water supplier shall establish a
definition of excessive water use by a customer of the urban retail
water supplier that considers, but is not necessarily limited to
addressing, all of the following factors:
   (A) Average daily use.
   (B) Full-time occupancy of households.
   (C) Amount of landscaped land on a property.
   (D) Rate of evapotranspiration.
   (2) An urban retail water supplier may also consider seasonal
weather changes when establishing a definition of excessive water use
by a customer of the urban retail water supplier.
   (b) An urban retail water supplier shall define and measure
excessive water use in terms of hundreds of cubic feet of water used
during the water supplier's regular billing cycle.
   (c) An urban retail water supplier shall adopt the definition of
excessive water use and make any other changes necessary to implement
this chapter by adopting a new rule or ordinance or by amending an
existing rule or ordinance relating to drought or water conservation.

   367.  (a) Excessive water use is a waste or unreasonable use of
water.
   (b) Excessive water use by a residential customer is prohibited.
   (c) A violation of subdivision (b) is an infraction punishable by
a fine of at least five hundred dollars ($500) per hundred cubic feet
of water used above the excessive water use definition in a billing
cycle. Any fine imposed pursuant to this subdivision shall be added
to the customer's water bill and is due and payable with that water
bill. Each urban retail water supplier shall have a process for
nonpayment of the fine, which shall be consistent with the water
supplier's existing process for nonpayment of a water bill. That
process may include, but is not necessarily limited to, the
imposition of nonpayment penalties, interruption of water service,
and placing of a lien on the customer's real property.
   (d) A violation of subdivision (b) where a demonstrable water leak
at the residence occurred and a fix to that leak is underway shall
not be punishable pursuant to subdivision (c). Other reasonable
justifications for excessive water use shall be considered consistent
with subdivision (e).
   (e) (1) An urban retail water supplier shall establish a process
for the appeal of a violation of subdivision (b) whereby the customer
may contest the imposition of any fine or penalty for excessive
water use.
   (2) As part of the appeal process, the customer shall be provided
with an opportunity to provide evidence of a bona fide reason for the
excessive water use, including evidence of a water leak meeting the
requirements of subdivision (d), a medical reason, or any other
reasonable justification for the water use.
   368.  This chapter applies only during a period for which the
Governor has issued a proclamation of a state of emergency under the
California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section
8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code) based on
drought conditions.
  SEC. 3.  The Legislature finds and declares that Section 1 of this
act, which amends Section 6254.16 of the Government Code, furthers,
within the meaning of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3
of Article I of the California Constitution, the purposes of that
constitutional section as it relates to the right of public access to
the meetings of local public bodies or the writings of local public
officials and local agencies. Pursuant to paragraph (7) of
subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California
Constitution, the Legislature makes the following findings:
   The Legislature finds that it is in the public's interest to be
made aware of excessive water use during a drought in order to help
prevent the unreasonable use or waste of water to protect water
resources in the interest of the people and for the public welfare.
  SEC. 4.  No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
the costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district
under this act would result from a legislative mandate that is within
the scope of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of
Article I of the California Constitution or because the costs that
may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred
because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a
crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or
infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government
Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
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