Another key water-conservation bill introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank), and co-authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), was signed into law by Governor Brown this week. AB 2636 establishes CalConserve, a revolving-loan program to finance water-efficiency projects for home owners and businesses, and helps cities and counties reach their water-reduction goals.
Conserving water has long been a goal of California policymakers, but with the state in the midst of a disastrous drought, conserving precious water resources has never been more important. For the first time in history, water exports to Central Valley farms and Southern California homes have fallen to zero. Crops are dying, cities are running out of drinking water, and streams are running dry. The drought is even forcing children in the Central Valley to leave school, as their parents are forced to abandon drought-scorched crops in search of work elsewhere.
“The technology exists to save millions of gallons of water, but the infrastructure of our homes and businesses needs to be updated,” said Gatto. “This legislation would provide funds for homeowners and businesses to make water-saving infrastructure upgrades.”
Gatto’s bill authorizes a state revolving-fund that will be a self-renewing source of funding for water-use efficiency. By helping private entities pay the upfront infrastructure costs of installing water-efficiency technology, CalConserve will allow more homeowners and business to save water. As they begin seeing savings on their water bill, these private entities will pay the infrastructure loan back to CalConserve.
“California can save water without asking taxpayers to spend a single dime,” noted Gatto. “Instead of giving away limited state resources in grants to pay for retrofits, we can help people pay the upfront costs and let them pay us back slowly from their water-bill savings.”