California Water Commission
The California Water Commission consists of nine members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate. Seven members are chosen for their expertise related to the control, storage, and beneficial use of water and two are chosen for their knowledge of the environment. The Commission provides a public forum for discussing water issues, advises the Director of the Department of Water Resources on matters within the Department’s jurisdiction, approves rules and regulations, and monitors and reports on the construction and operation of the State Water Project. Proposition 1: The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act approved by voters in 2014, gave the Commission new responsibilities regarding the distribution of public funds set aside for the public benefits of water storage projects, and developing regulations for the quantification and management of those benefits. In 2018, the Commission made maximum conditional eligibility determinations for eight projects in the Water Storage Investment Program.
WSIP Frequently Asked Questions
The Commission has released several Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) documents covering different phases of WSIP implementation. All the FAQ documents can now be found on the FAQs Page, which can be accessed by clicking the link above. The page will be updated as more FAQs become available.
New Strategic Plan
The Commission released its new Strategic Plan, which is available at the link in the title above. Reviewed and updated every five years, the 2020 Strategic Plan includes a new mission statement, goals, and objectives that reflect the critical need to reshape the way we manage water as California experiences an increasingly extreme hydrologic regime. The Commission will use this document to develop its annual work plans.
Notice of Emergency Regulations for Special Application for Early Funding in the WSIP
The Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) implements Proposition 1, Chapter 8, which provided $2.7 billion for the public benefits of water storage projects. To implement this chapter, the Commission adopted program regulations, as required in Chapter 8, then proceeded with a solicitation and application review. Water Code section 79755 (c) allows for early funding of projects to assist with work related to completion of environmental documents and permits. Program regulations implemented the early funding provision by requiring applicants to request early funding in their initial applications. Four of the eight applicants that completed the review process requested early funding in their applications. Early funding is capped at 5 percent of the Maximum Conditional Eligibility Determination to limit stranding of funds should a project not progress to final award and to reserve the majority of Proposition 1, Chapter 8 funding for project construction. In a May 11 letter to the Water Commission, proponents of six of the eight WSIP-funded projects including Chino Basin and Willow Springs stated that “we are concerned that the uncertain financial times ahead could cause delays to these projects that you have previously determined create an important statewide benefit.” The Commission directed staff to draft and present emergency regulations to the Commission to address concerns raised in the May 11 letter at its July 2020 meeting. The Commission adopted the proposed emergency regulations at its August 17, 2020, meeting with a minor change. Commission staff submitted the adopted regulations to the Office of Administrative Law on August 19, 2020. The Office of Administrative Law approved the emergency regulations on August 31, 2020, and they became effective immediately.
Proposed Regulations for Procedure for WIIN Act Determination
The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act was enacted by Congress on December 16, 2016. The purposes of the WIIN Act include improving water infrastructure across the country. Section 4007 addresses water projects in California and makes funding available to build water storage projects in California. The proposed regulations provide the process for a project proponent to obtain the California Water Commission’s determination that the project is consistent with Proposition 1. The Commission is accepting public comments on the proposed rulemaking; to be considered, comments must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on December 18. The link in the title above opens the web page containing the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, proposed regulations, and Initial Statement of Reasons. Information about how to provide comments can be found in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.