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Building the Capacity of Drinking Water Systems


State Agencies Supporting Water System Partnerships

California Environmental Protection Agency

California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)

State Policies and Programs Regarding Water System Partnerships


California’s DWSRF program includes an incentive program for consolidation. In their IUP for SFY 2016-2017, the SWRCB lists several incentives for consolidation, including but not limited to: up to $5 million zero percent interest rate financing “for a construction project that benefits eligible PWSs if such PWS completes a full consolidation with a water system serving a small disadvantaged or small severely disadvantage community;” priority financing to consolidation projects “using financial assistance terms the smaller consolidating entity would be eligible for;” and funding to replace capacity lost through consolidation. The Division of Financial Assistance also requires all funding applicants to evaluate the feasibility of consolidation (via the TMF assessment listed above).


New community and non-transient, non-community water systems must complete a TMF assessment. One of the required components of the assessment is to evaluate the feasibility of consolidation.


In reference to submittals for operation permits, any new system applying for operation within the State of California must submit a preliminary technical report including a characterization of water quality and an evaluation of the feasibility of consolidation (Section 116527). In addition, if the California SWRCB determines that consolidation or interconnection is feasible and that the proposed water system would not be able to deliver safe drinking water, the SWRCB may deny the permit [Section 116540(d)].


The SWRCB has the authority to order consolidation of a small water system within a disadvantaged community that “consistently fails to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water” with a receiving water system [Section 116682(a)]. In addition, Section 116684: Consolidation Liability Exemptions provides liability relief for a “consolidated water system, wholesaler, or any other agency in the chain of distribution that delivers water to a consolidated water system.” Finally, if the SWRCB does not deem consolidation or interconnection feasible, they may contract with an administrator to provide administrative and managerial services to the selected system (Section 116686).

Helpful Links to State Resources