Legislation Would Combine Water Agencies

Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing new legislation that would let the State Water Resources Control Board consolidate smaller water agencies into larger systems, saying the move will improve water access across California.

Oildale Mutual Water District general manager Doug Nunneley said he dislikes the proposal.

“Forcing consolidation of water systems takes that choice away from the people that are being served by the system,” Nunneley said.

Nunneley said his agency wouldn’t be immediately affected, but does say he’s concerned the rule could lead to his agency losing its independence.

Harry Starkey, the general manager of the West Kern Water District, was also skeptical.

“The devil’s is in the details,” Starkey said. “Getting a new customer or system connected into an existing, larger water district – some of those costs can be prohibitive.”

Cal Water district manager Rudy Valles said he likes the idea.

“If the system is small and close by to us, and we can serve it, then, yeah, we’d probably be asked to help out,” Valles said.

– Anthony Pollreisz