The Senate Committee on Governance and Finance approved Senate Bill 634, authored by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, in a 6-0 vote. The bill seeks to establish a region-wide water agency for the Santa Clarita Valley.
“I am very pleased the Committee sees the value in a creating a new state water agency that will reflect the values of transparency and accountability in the Santa Clarita Valley’s water delivery,” said Wilk. “I want to ensure that residents of the Santa Clarita Valley have a first class water provider.”
The purpose of SB 634 is to create a new state water agency that will have a streamlined governance structure reflecting the values of transparency and accountability. Currently there are multiple water providers supplying a patchwork of water services to the region – a situation that has resulted in confusion, overlap and added costs for consumers. Wilk’s proposal would integrate existing infrastructure and systems into one 21st Century modern government agency that will serve as a model for water agencies throughout the state and nation.
Late last year the boards of the Castaic Lake Water Agency (CLWA) and Newhall County Water District (NCWD) voted to support legislation that would dissolve the two agencies and create a new valley-wide water agency. Senate Bill 634 is the fruit of those negotiations.
“The legislative process is a collaborative one which allows for the full vetting of the issues,” said Wilk. “Over the last 18 months, my staff and I have invested countless hours meeting with all stakeholders including ratepayers, local elected officials, environmentalists and water professionals seeking input into questions such as ‘Should we create a new agency?’ ‘And, if so, what would that look like?'”
“In the end, it is my goal to create an agency that everyone will be proud of and will deliver on the promises that people expect.”
The bill now moves to the Committee on Senate Appropriations.