AB 399 ensures impacted residents get to vote on detachment proposals
October, 2023 – The Water Ratepayers Protection Act of 2023 (Assembly Bill 399) was signed Friday by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, adding affordability safeguards for residents and businesses in the San Diego County Water Authority’s service area.
The legislation, introduced by Encinitas Assemblymember Tasha Boerner and sponsored by the City of San Diego, expands voting requirements should agencies seek to withdraw or “detach” from the Water Authority. Under the new law, a majority vote in both the separating district and the County Water Authority would be necessary to complete a detachment as of Jan. 1, 2024.
“This is a simple matter of fairness,” said Water Authority Board Chair Mel Katz. “The people whose rates would increase if a water district leaves the County Water Authority should have a say. It’s gratifying that the state Legislature and the governor added these important protections for disadvantaged communities, working families, farmers, and others across San Diego County.”
The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $268 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 24 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.