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Wolk bill would require reporting of water system leaks

In the face of California’s ongoing drought, the state Senate voted unanimously Tuesday in support of strengthening requirements that urban water districts report to the state their water losses through leaks in their water systems.

SB 1420, authored by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, is now on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. He has 12 days to consider the measure.

“The water coming out of taps in California’s urban communities moves through thousands of miles of pipes. Many of these water systems are in need of repair,” Wolk said in a news release. “In fact, it’s been estimated that up to 10 percent of water supplied statewide is lost to leaks.

“We need to know how much water is lost in transit through these urban water systems in order to take cost-effective steps to reduce water loss and better manage our state’s water resources.”

The bill makes several changes recommended last year by an independent state panel tasked with improving methods of reporting on water conservation efforts in urban areas in order to save water.

SB 1420 updates state law to require urban water suppliers to file their water management plans with the Department of Water Resources electronically, streamlining the filing process.

These plans help the state ensure water suppliers are planning to meet their community’s current and future water needs. SB 1420 also requires that water suppliers report and account for water loss in their distribution systems.

DWR estimates that approximately 443 water suppliers, providing water to more than 90 percent of the state’s population, are required to submit urban water management plans.

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