Gov. Newsom Signs Clean Drinking Water Bill
Last week, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 200 (SB 200) to provide funds for improvements to local communities’ access to safe drinking water. SB 200 will provide $130 million a year to spend over the next decade to improve drinking water for about a million people. The source of the funding is coming primarily from money currently allocated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The lack of access to clean drinking water is a statewide issue; however, it is especially bad in the Central Valley. Gov. Newsom stated the following in a news release,
The fact that more than a million Californians can’t rely on clean water to drink or bathe in is a moral disgrace. Parents shouldn’t have to worry about their kids drinking from the water fountain at school, and families shouldn’t have to dump water over their heads to shower every day.
Gov. Newsom had proposed a tax for most residential water customers to fund this issue, but state lawmakers didn’t want to approve of a new tax. The passage of SB 200 creates the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, which will redirect $100 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and $30 million from the General Fund to this new clean water fund in its first year. After the first year, funding will come from five percent of the greenhouse gas fund, which is capped at $130 million per year. If the five percent of the greenhouse gas fund isn’t sufficient enough to make up the yearly $130 million for the clean water fund, then money will be used from the General Fund to ensure that $130 million is spent per year until 2030 for related projects. Hopefully, this doesn’t create issues with money being diverted away from other projects to fund these new clean water projects.