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Latest News & Quarterly Newsletters: E-Newsletter Winter 2016

2016 Legislative Update

Tuesday, February 23, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lisa Anderson
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2016 Legislative Update

 

Consider how the following proposals might affect the way you do work:

 

·         An increase in available water development funds of $35 million/year

·         A requirement for tiered water rates for all culinary water providers

·         Required meters on all pressurized irrigation connections

·         Full adjudication of the water rights in your area

 

These are just a few examples of ideas being discussed during the 2016 session of the Utah Legislature.  While these ideas may or may not become law, the AWWA Legislative Update on February 8, 2016 provided attendees with a great opportunity to hear about the most recent developments on legislation being considered on Capitol Hill.

 

Participants in the Update where able to hear from following speakers on topics pertinent to AWWA members:

 

Leland Myer, Central Davis Sewer District, discussed proposed legislation to allow for third party peer review when disagreements exist on the science associated with proposed water quality regulations.  As proposed, SB110 would allow for agencies subject to water quality regulations to request a review by a board of experts jointly agreed upon by the agencies and regulators.  This legislation has the potential to affect discussions relative to nutrient removal in waterwater treatment.

 

Representative Lee Perry, District 29, discussed legislation he has proposed in this year’s session.  This includes HB 257/SB 80 that would reassign a portion of the State’s current sales tax (1/16th of a cent) to water development issues.  This sales tax was originally intended to be dedicated to this purpose, but was moved to transportation several years ago.  If approved, this change would move about $35 million per year from transportation back to water development.  Rep. Perry is also sponsoring SB 28 in the house which would require tiered rates for all culinary water connections.

 

Ben Holcomb, Division of Water Quality, provided insight on the State’s perspective of SB110.  He also discussed the State’s recent efforts to understand and prepare for harmful algal blooms in open water bodies.  This included discussion of the blooms potential impact on water recreation and drinking water impacts.

 

Ken Bousfield, Division of Drinking Water, provided an update on new and proposed changes in drinking water regulations.  This included a summary of the Revised Total Coliform Rule and how revisions to the rule will affect water providers. 

 

 

Kent Jones, State Engineer, indicated that this looks to be a little quieter year for water rights after last year’s active session.  However, water bills potentially affecting water rights still include: SB 75 – additional funding for adjudication of water rights; HB 305 – increased funding for water use data collection and analysis; and HB 222 – clarifications on non-use applications to eliminate something known as the “Lazarus Clause”.  Kent also gave un update on the impact of last year’s legislation the State Engineer’s role as the “gate keeper” for water right decisions.

 

Special thanks to Nicole Baser and the Legislative Affairs Committee for planning the event.  If you missed the opportunity this year, keep an eye out for the annual event next year in early February.

 

Keith Larson

Bowen Collins & Associates


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