SB 623 Water Tax

Tracking the proposed water tax

Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (EVMWD) regularly follows proposed legislation that could affect the District and its customers. One of the bills we have been following is Senate Bill 623, which would establish, for the first time, a statewide tax on drinking water.

Money generated by the tax would go in to a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to upgrade water systems in about 300 communities where water doesn’t meet public health standards. Most of those systems are privately owned and in rural, disadvantaged communities in the Central Valley.

EVMWD has opposed the water tax proposal—unless amended—because we do not believe that a tax is a sustainable approach toward resolving the serious and ongoing issue of water accessibility. The tax would raise about $110 million per year. For EVMWD customers, the tax would be 95 cents per month, added to their monthly bills. Businesses would contribute up to $10 per month, and fees would also be imposed on fertilizer and dairies. EVMWD and other water providers would collect the tax and forward it to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in Sacramento. The tax could increase annually at the discretion of the SWRCB.

EVMWD supports an alternative to SB 623, Assembly Bill 2050 the Small System Water Authority Act of 2018, to develop and propose an alternative that would rely on funding sources other than a tax on water while also increasing oversight of these failing water systems. This legislation seeks to merge multiple small water systems that don’t meet drinking water standards into larger systems that can operate together at a lower cost. By merging, they would have better financing opportunities, including access to state grants and municipal bonds.

Get the facts at

For Legislators:
AB 2050 – Small System Water Authority Act of 2018

AB 2050 – Small System Water Authority Act of 2018 Fact Sheet

SB 623 – Drinking Water Tax
ACWA Memo to Legislators
ACWA Coalition Letter in Response to SB 623 Budget Trailer Bill
SB 623 and Budget Trailer Bill Summary