Drinking Water Transition Advisory Group Report
November 21, 2014
By: Pete Conaty - PWQA / WQA Legislative Advocate
I attended my first meeting of the SWRCB Drinking Water Transition Advisory Group on
Wednesday, November 19.
All of the 'California Drinking Water Community' was in attendance, including representatives
of water agency organizations, environmental justice organizations, disadvantaged communities,
local health and environmental health officers, and other key stakeholders.
The entire atmosphere at the meeting was refreshing to the extent that it was evident that the
transfer of the Drinking Water Program from the Department of Public Health (DPH) to the State
Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) was a very smart move. Many persons opined that it
was great to move from a "can't do" agency to a "can do" agency. For example, the new
SWRCB's Division of Drinking Water (Division) is now spending the available funding for
water projects that the DPH had not spent in many years.
The transfer of the Clean Drinking Water Program from DPH to SWRCB has given new life to
the program. The staff is happier and more interested in solving problems and getting money out
the door to help solve problems especially in the drought.
There is great interest in this group in cutting through the red tape and get these devices out to
small, disadvantaged communities with clean water issues (such as nitrate and arsenic) out in
these communities now.
I am pleased to report that even though POE/POU devices usage was not on the agenda other
participants at the meeting brought this issue up and there was a 20-minute discussion on the
One of the most important things to come out of the meeting is that the Division is
preparing a package of updated regulation on various subjects, including a set of
POE/POU regulations. I have asked for a copy of the proposed regulations, but we may
have to wait until they are put out for public consumption.
I will follow up with more information soon, but it is apparent that all of your on-going efforts at
Lobby Day each year are starting to bear significant interest. I really can't believe the interest
this issue is receiving. So even though we have not been able to get legislation passed through
the entire legislative process on this subject; the introduction of those past bills has helped spread
the gospel about POE/POU. The industry has been heard in the Legislature and at the State
Water Resources Control Board.
Finally, it was well worth the effort to get a seat at the table for the first time for the water quality
industry. The coming PWQA Lobby Days on March 23-24 will probably be one of the most
productive and important ones we have had.
This also means I am asking PWQA members to step up our involvement at the local level. It
can't be done all at the SWRCB level. Much of the action occurs at the local level and for that
you need to be the face of the industry at Regional Water Quality Control Board hearings,