California State Water Resources Control Board
The California State Water Resources Control Board’s mission is to preserve, enhance, and restore the quality of California’s water resources and drinking water for the protection of the environment, public health, and all beneficial uses; and to ensure proper water resource allocation and efficient use, for the benefit of present and future generations. The Water Board regulates wastewater discharges to surface water and groundwater, as well as stormwater discharges from construction, industrial, and municipal activities; discharges from irrigated agriculture; dredge and fill activities; the alteration of any federal water body under the 401 certification program; and several other activities with practices that could degrade water quality.
Recent legislation requires that the California State Water Resources Control Board, a body that allocates water resources and regulates water quality, develop a statewide low-income ratepayer assistance program for water. The Water Board will produce a plan that identifies funding sources, such as fees on capital projects or utility bills, anticipates and resolves legal barriers to rate assistance, and shares best practices. Legal barriers could include laws such as California’s Proposition 218, which prohibits government agencies from charging more for a service than it costs to provide—essentially preventing ratepayers from subsidizing low-income assistance programs. In states that do not allow agencies to provide direct payment assistance, assistance must go through a third party such as a nonprofit or faith-based group. Policy advocacy organizations can work to change or remove legal barriers to affordability and assistance programs.