Hurtado Makes Big Splash as Governor Signs Critical Water Bill

September 29, 2020

(SACRAMENTO, CA) Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) secured Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature yesterday on legislation that will speed the permit process for low-income Central Valley communities to deliver clean drinking water for residents. 

The bill, Senate Bill 974, exempts new water projects that serve small, rural communities from some provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The exemption allows low-income communities to find relief for the expensive and exhaustive permit process to produce water wells and related projects.

“Today many hard-working families of the Southern Central Valley embrace the passage of this bill,” Hurtado said. “The Governor’s signature provides us with a glimpse of hope that when Democrats and Republicans work together we can deliver safe drinking water and create jobs for a region that needs it most.”

Last year, Senator Hurtado secured $15 million in California’s budget to fix failing Valley water systems in rural communities. (Link to release). Senator Hurtado won the reauthorization for that funding this year. In addition, Senator Hurtado fought for, and won, $50 million in this year’s budget to help Valley farmers comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Solutions Act. 

SB 974 is sponsored by Self-Help Enterprises and the Rural Community Assistance Corporation and enjoyed bipartisan support.  Other notable supporters include Allensworth Community Services District, Audubon California, California Association of Realtors, East Orosi Community Services District, Environmental Defense Fund, Hardwick Water Company, Lanare Community Services District, Lemon Cove Sanitary District, Plainview Mutual Water Company, Regional Water Authority, Richgrove Community Services District, Rural County Representatives of California, Sultana Community Services District, and Yettem-Seville Community Services District.