Wednesday, February 21 , 2018, 9:50 pm | Fair 46º

 
 
 
 

Williams Bill to Protect Water Infrastructure Clears Senate

AB 2443 would provide funding to prevent infestation from Quagga and Zebra mussel

A bill authored by local Assemblyman Das Williams to provide a stable source of funding to protect critical water infrastructure from Quagga and Zebra mussel infestation passed off the state Senate floor Thursday with bipartisan support.

Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, rose to speak in support of the bill for several minutes. He noted that he attended the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission recently where the issue of infestation was discussed. Harman focused on the devastating costs borne by local governments and water agencies as soon as a reservoir becomes infested.

“The question before us is, should we act now or wait until reservoirs become infested, costing our local agencies hundreds of millions of dollars for never-ending infestation containment efforts? The direct and indirect costs of infestation are severe,” Williams said. “Just look at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. They spent $30 million over the last five years battling an infestation. We must protect Lake Cachuma and Lake Casitas from this danger.”

AB 2443 would establish a reasonable fee increase on vessel registration that would be used to assist local governments in protecting vulnerable local water supplies, flood control efforts, hydro-power generation, and aquatic recreation from non-native Quagga and Zebra mussel infestation.

The law already requires local plans to prevent infestation; however, AB 2443 would establish a revenue source to assist local government and state agencies offset the costs of those plans.

— Susan McEntire is chief of staff for Assemblyman Das Williams.

 
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