Although California has some of the toughest water quality and marine resource laws on the books, these laws are constantly under attack. California Coastkeeper Alliance defends and expands California’s environmental laws to protect clean and abundant water. Efforts to roll back the implementation of the Clean Water Act — which set the landmark and successful regulatory framework across the country in 1972 — threaten California and its communities.
California Coastkeeper Alliance maintains a regular presence at the State Capitol, representing local Waterkeepers and issues of importance to their communities and watersheds in Sacramento. Every session, we track the development of more than fifty proposed state bills on water quality, water supply, coastal and ocean health, oil spills and fracking. CCKA also helps organize the annual California Ocean Day in Sacramento, where conservation organizations, communities, and businesses connect with California legislators about critical ocean and coastal reforms.
CCKA takes the lead to pass one or two new laws every year – and defeat anti-environment legislation to rollback or weaken existing laws – to protect clean water, improve reliability of local water supplies, and protect our coastal resources. A small sample of important new laws CCKA has helped sponsor, support, and pass include:
Water Monitoring Council (2006) – Senate Bill 1070 (Kehoe) created the California Water Monitoring Council to integrate and coordinate the state’s water quality and related ecosystem monitoring, assessment, and reporting.
Drinkable Recycled Water (2010 & 2013) – Senate Bill 918 (Pavley) and Senate Bill 322 (Hueso), empowered the California Drinking Water Program to develop water recycling guidelines for advanced purified recycled water projects.
Swimmable California Day (2013) – Senate Concurrent Resolution 48 (Hueso and Stone) proclaimed July 25th as Swimmable California Day to recognize Californians’ rights to clean and safe waters for swimming and other appropriate activities, and to encourage Californians to enjoy and use their waters.
Statewide Bag Ban (2014) – Senate Bill 270 (Padilla) enacted the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores.
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (2014) – A three-bill package [Senate Bill 1168(Pavley), Assembly Bill 1739 (Dickinson), and Senate Bill 1319 (Pavley)] created a framework for sustainable, local groundwater management for the first time in California history.
Beach Water Quality Monitoring (2014) – Senate Bill 1395 (Block) authorized Counties to use a rapid beach monitoring test to provide an early warning and protect 238 million California beachgoers annually when it is unsafe to swim due to polluted runoff.
Recycled Drinking Water (2016) – Assembly Bill 2022 (Gordon) allowed purified recycled water to be bottled and sampled to educate decision-makers and the public on this viable water source and to support public investment in water recycling.
Stormwater Financing (2017) – Senate Bill 231 (Hertzberg) provided local governments clear authority to finance stormwater projects to promote water conservation and manage polluted runoff, while treating low-income rate payers fairly.
Potable Reuse (2017) – Assembly Bill 574 (Quirk) established a framework for direct potable reuse regulations – the first state in the nation to do so.
Beneficial Reuse of Dredged Sediment (2018) – The California Legislature appropriated $6 million to the State Coastal Conservancy to develop a pilot program to promote the beneficial reuse of dredged sediment for wetland restoration.
Safe and Affordable Drinking Water (2019) – Senate Bill 200 (Monning) provides an annual appropriation of $130 million to the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to provide safe and affordable drinking water for all California communities without liability relief for agricultural polluters.
In 2019, CCKA has co-sponsored and supported three key bills to protect water quality throughout California: Senate Bill 1 (Atkins) to protect California waterways and communities from dangerous federal rollbacks of foundational environmental laws, Senate Bill 69 (Wiener) to increase the resilience of keystone species to climate change by reducing threats to these species and their habitats, and Senate Bill 205 (Hertzberg) to improve the management of industrial stormwater by ensuring all applicable facilities enroll under the State Water Board’s Industrial General Permit. Together, these bills will ensure healthier communities and ecosystems throughout the state.