AB 460 increases the authority of the Water Control Resources Board to stop illegal water uses
Sacramento, CA – AB 460 authored by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) passed off the Assembly floor. Bauer-Kahan is the Chair of the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee, and is championing AB 460 to address the drought emergency by strengthening the State Water Resources Control Board’s management of water use.
“We do not have the regulatory strength to handle the new normal of megadrought,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “Illegal water diversion can become the difference between access to water or dry taps in the future.”
AB 460 empowers the State Water Board to act swiftly to prevent water use in emergencies. In the coming years, experts foresee increasing demands for water without the resources to sustain them. When water is wasted – it is gone forever. In the drought California is facing, that water loss can be disastrous.
With ever-increasing severity of droughts in California, the Water Board needs more tools to manage and protect water supplies for all Californians and the environment in times of scarcity.
“Granting the Board interim relief authority is one of those tools, and we thank the Assemblymember for taking on this critical issue,” Said Matthew Baker, Policy Director for the bill’s cosponsor, the Planning and Conservation League.
“We need our government to be able step in and protect access to water for all,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “This is the smart, bold policy to ensure a sustainable future for California.”
In her Feb 7 release of the Bill, AB 460 empowers the State Water Board to act swiftly to prevent harm to the environment, public health, and water resources caused by illegal or wasteful uses of water. The bill grants the Board the authority to issue an interim relief order to halt harmful water use practices that violate the Constitution, water quality objectives, water right permits and licenses, and fish and wildlife.
Note – This bill would authorize the board to issue, on its own motion or upon the petition of an interested party, an interim relief order in appropriate circumstances to implement or enforce these and related provisions of law. The bill would provide that a person or entity that violates any interim relief order issued by the board would be liable to the board for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed the sum of $10,000 for each day in which a violation occurs and $5,000 for each acre-foot of water diverted in violation of the interim relief order. The bill would require these funds to be deposited in the Water Rights Fund.