UPDATE: Water bill clears committee hurdle, onto Assembly floor

Proposed districts if the consolidation of Castaic Lake Water Agency and the Newhall County Water District are finalized via legislation.

The bill that would create a unified Santa Clarita water district passed through the Assembly Appropriations Committee Friday and will now head to the Assembly floor for its final vote.

If Senate Bill 634 passes, Castaic Lake Water Agency and Newhall County Water District will dissolve into the new agency.

This bill has gone through an “exhaustive and collaborative process” as it has passed six legislative committees and the Senate, according to CLWA President Bob DiPrimio and NCWD President Maria Gutzeit in a joint statement.

“The concept now faces two final steps before we can bring its benefits, including local jobs for residents and veterans, $14 million in savings, equal voting rights and representation and better watershed management to our community,” the statement read.

Details of those claims, however, have yet to be laid out for the public.

According to Lynne Plambeck, a Newhall County Water District board member and outspoken adversary of the merger, there are serious concerns with the water supply as wells have gone dry and groundwater has decreased by 80 feet.

“The future impacts are not being considered,” Plambeck said.

The bill allows for pumping water without oversight and reduces the amount of community input, she said.

The affordable housing slated to go in the area is also being over-hyped and is risky and impractical, she said.

Building houses over floodplains is unsafe, according to Plambeck, and people voted for Senate Bill 634 under the impression the housing development would have a sufficient water supply.

When the bill goes to the full Assembly, it will have the support of Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita), his office told The Signal.

All assembly members will vote on the bill, authored by Senator Scott Wilk, sometime in the next two weeks.

“The bill creates a modern and transparent water agency which will provide an environmentally-sustainable and cost-effective way to manage our community’s water needs in the future,” Wilk said in a statement.

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