Drought Planning for Small Water Suppliers and Rural Communities (SB 552)
Under Senate Bill 552 (SB 552), passed and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2021, State and local governments will share the responsibility in preparing and acting in the case of a water shortage event. These new requirements are expected to improve the ability of Californians to manage future droughts and help prevent catastrophic impacts on drinking water for communities vulnerable to impacts of climate change. The bill outlines the new requirements for small water suppliers, county governments, DWR, and the State Water Board to implement more proactive drought planning and be better prepared for future water shortage events or dry years.
SB 552 requires small water suppliers - defined as those with fewer than 3,000 connections and serve fewer than 3,000 acre feet - to have an abridged water shortage contingency plan, annually report their water supply conditions and use by month, and upgrade their infrastructure to drought resilient standards, if needed. DWR and the State Water Board are working together to develop a template for the abridged water shortage contingency plan by December 2022.
Small water suppliers (or small water suppliers integrated into larger water suppliers) that voluntarily choose to instead comply with specified existing law relating to urban water management plans would be exempt from these provisions.
- Water Shortage Contingency Plan Template Development for Small Water Suppliers, April 20, 2022.
Please see the SharePoint site for slides from the webinar(s) and additional materials.
Each county, per SB 552, is required to have a standing drought task force to facilitate drought and water shortage preparedness for state small water systems (serving 5 to 14 connections), domestic wells, and other privately supplied homes within the county’s jurisdiction. Each county must also develop a plan demonstrating the potential drought and water shortage risk and proposed interim and long-term solutions for state small water systems and domestic wells within the county. Both of these requirements may be implemented as part of other existing committees and/or planning processes.
- Webinar on County Drought Plan Requirements for State Small Water Systems and Domestic Wells (SB 552), June 2, 2022.
- Date: 10:30 AM-12:30 PM, June 2, 2022
- Registration here: https://csus.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAsceChqTwqHNHcrBQg-5UFZuIwNSKaVJ85
To help small suppliers and counties access information about drought and water shortage vulnerabilities and risks, DWR will maintain and update the Water Shortage Vulnerability Tool as new data is available, in coordination with the State Water Board and other state agencies. The assessment and tool were developed as part of the Countywide Drought Advisory Group and will regularly be updated and maintained.
DWR will coordinate with other state agencies to establish a standing drought and water shortage task force for California. The purpose and scope of this task force is to facilitate proactive state planning and coordination, both for predrought planning and post-drought emergency response; develop strategies to enhance collaboration between various fields; and do so in a way that considers all types of water users. The task force must include local governments, community-based organizations, nonprofit technical assistance providers, the public and experts in land use planning, water resilience, and water infrastructure.
Disaster Risk Management Framework
- Water Shortage Vulnerability Risk Explorer Tools
- Human Right to Water
Call: (916) 651-0740