A Senate bill calling for one new all-encompassing water district for the Santa Clarita Valley is slated to be reviewed Tuesday in Sacramento by members of the Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife.
The Santa Clarita Valley Water District Act – SB 634 – passed unanimously out of the Assembly Committee on Local Government a couple of weeks ago.
Before that, it was approved by the Senate on May 31 and, a day later, read in the Assembly, and was then referred two committees for review: the Committee on Local Government and the Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife.
On Tuesday it goes to the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee which scrutinizes all things environmental.
And although the bill has enjoyed a problem-free journey on its way through the State Senate and now in the State Assembly, the ride has not been without controversy.
In late March, there was a concern voiced by staffers working with the Senate Committee on Natural Resources that the bill contained scant information about the role of Valencia Water Company, largest of SCV’s water retailers with 31,400 water service connections – compared to NCWD with 9,715 and SCWD with 28,000 service connections.
Then, last month, Senator Henry Stern who twice abstained from voting on the bill called for clear language addressing Valencia Water Company’s relationship with the Newhall Ranch development project and its new role in the proposed new water agency.
None of the contentious issues raised about the bill since it was introduced in February, however, fall inside the jurisdiction of the Water, Parks, and Wildlife committee.
The committee’s primary jurisdictions are water resources, flood management, fish and game, parks and recreation, and wildlife.
For more than a year, officials with the Castaic Lake Water Agency – SCV’s water wholesaler – and the Newhall County Water District – one of its four local water retailers – have been hammering out details of a merger, eliciting input from the public at four public meetings.
In December, both the CLWA and NCWD signed a settlement agreement calling for legislation to be drafted and submitted.
In February, SB 634 was introduced to create one new all-encompassing water agency that would manage and distribute water throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
SB634 was authored by state Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt