Assembly Member Cunningham's AB 554 has passed out of the Water, Parks and Wildlife committee!
The bill passed out of the committee with a vote of 9 Yes, 3 No, and 3 abstain - the bill will now be moved to be heard on the Assembly floor.
AB 554 is the California State wide policy bill to establish a goal to desalinate 300,000 acre-feet of water a year by 2025 and 500,000 AFY by 2030.
CalDesal strongly supports this bill, and Executive Director Paul Kelley sat with Assembly Member Cunningham to provide the primary support testimony. CalDesal's Legislative Advocate Ron Davis also provided support testimony after working with the author's office for the past few weeks in support of the bill.
Our advocacy included:
A Statewide Desalination Goal is good policy and is consistent with Governor Brown's California Water Action Plan that recognizes ocean and brackish water desalination as important options for diversified water supply portfolio.
Ocean Desal projects will comply with the 2015 State Board adopted Ocean plan amendments and therefore they will be the most environmentally protective projects in the world.
Brackish water clean up using desalination provides communities with local drought resilient supplies and is a tool to help regions meet the requirements of Salt and Nutrient Management plans.
There were opponents at the hearing and they communicated issues like: Setting Desalination goals will mean the state will have to eventually give money to desalination projects. Desalination is expensive and energy intensive and with other cheaper water options. The goal could be costly to the state and divert money from other water supply options. The cost of desalinated water is expensive for rate payers. The opponents admitted that there are State recycling, storm water and conservation goals, but its too early, and not necessary to set State desalination goals. - These are all issues we have good answers for and will need to communicate them to the State Assembly.
This bill will need your support - The bill was set very early for a committee hearing, so we weren't able to recruit letters from our members, but now we have a chance to get more support letters in.
Please send a support letter to Assembly Member Cunningham's office for his use at the next level.
To access the actual bill use this link: