Water bill on its way to the Senate floor


A state Senate bill promising to create a brand new water district in the Santa Clarita Valley, cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday and is now headed to the Senate floor.

Senate Bill 634 cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously Thursday, allowing the bill to proceed to full Senate for consideration.

The state’s Senate Appropriations Committee investigates and studies any proposed bill that imposes a state-mandated local program, paying particular attention to its anticipated fiscal impact on the state.

SB 634 – the Santa Clarita Valley Water District Act – is the culmination of two years’ work by two feuding water districts to bury the hatchet and move forward.

On Dec. 13, 2016, water officials moved to create one unifying water agency when SCV’s water wholesaler – the Castaic Lake Water Agency – and one of the valley’s three main water retailers – the Newhall County Water District – entered into a binding settlement agreement towards that end. Officials voted immediately to draw up legislation to close the deal.

News that the bill was on its way to the Senate floor was well-received by NCWD General Manager Steve Cole.

“Today marked another key milestone towards the creation of a new water district for the Santa Clarita Valley,” Cole told The Signal.

“I would like to personally thank the Boards of Newhall County Water District and Castaic Lake Water Agency for having the courage to lay out a new vision to further improve water resource management for our community,” he said.

Thursday’s committee action marks the third California State Senate committee to approve SB 634.

The historic document poised to become law promises – according to bill proponents – to transform what they call a “patchwork of numerous water providers that creates redundant services, stifled integration, inherent conflicts and added costs” into a “new regional water district that would integrate systems”.

“Today’s vote means we are one step closer to bringing the benefits of a new water district to the Santa Clarita Valley,” Maria Gutzeit, president of Newhall County Water District, said Thursday.

CLWA Board President Robert DiPrimio said: “It is a once in a generation opportunity to create a new approach to water management and it has now earned the support of several California Senate committees.

“We now look forward to its final review from the full Senate next week,” he said.

The bill’s journey is a long one reaching back over two years of planning and discussion by local water officials.

In January, a month after the NCWD and CLWA signed a settlement agreement, water officials got together and discussed publicly, the legislation needed to secure the formation of a new water agency.

After a year of public debate over the Agency’s merging with SCV water retailer, the Newhall County Water District, the historic venture was on its way to becoming a reality.

Santa Clarita Valley residents, businesses and institutions get their water from one of four water retailers: Newhall County Water District, Valencia Water Company, Santa Clarita Water Division or Los Angeles County Waterworks District #36.

Castaic Lake Water Agency is the water wholesaler.


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