Gloria Bill to Save Pure Water San Diego Project Clears Legislature, Heads to Governor

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

State Bill on Governor’s Desk by Gloria and Atkins Could Ensure San Diego’s Long-term Water Security

SACRAMENTO, CA – A state bill authored by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) and co-authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) to save the Pure Water San Diego project has earned the Legislature’s approval and been sent to Governor Gavin Newsom. Assembly Bill 1290 (AB 1290) represents an emergency move to ensure the project can move forward despite frivolous litigation and to stop the potential waste of millions in taxpayer dollars.

The Pure Water project has been in the making for a generation, but its future is in jeopardy. Rather than letting this be another San Diego special, I’m proud Senator Atkins and I brought together a diverse stakeholder group to get this done,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “Pure Water is too important for our region’s water supply reliability and overall water security. For this reason, we urge Governor Newsom to sign this bill into law.”

Pure Water San Diego is the City of San Diego’s ground-breaking water supply program, designed to supply one-third of the city’s water supply,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins. “AB 1290 and the Pure Water project will ensure water reliability for the San Diego region for decades to come. I thank Assemblymember Gloria for bringing this issue forward and I was honored to vote for it on the Senate Floor.”

AB 1290 would require, as a condition of state financing, a project labor agreement (PLA) for the Pure Water project so it can advance despite frivolous litigation that has brought the project to a near complete halt.

Since late June, Pure Water San Diego has been stalled due to frivolous litigation claiming that the project violates Proposition A – a 2012 ballot measure that prevents the City from mandating project labor agreements on construction except when required by state or federal law. AB 1290 would remedy the legal dispute of the Pure Water program, as a condition of receiving state funds, to permit a project labor agreement.

According to the City of San Diego’s court filings, costs are projected to increase $4 million for each month of delay beyond August 2019. Additionally, without legal certainty, the City could lose $646.6 million from the State Water Resources Control Board and could receive significant fines if it does not meet key milestones set by regulators.

Pure Water San Diego is the City of San Diego’s program that will provide one-third of the city’s water supply – approximately 83 million gallons per day -- locally by 2035. It uses proven technology to clean recycled water into safe, high-quality drinking water that is drought-proof. The project, largely financed through a loan from the State Water Resources Control Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, would represent one of the largest water recycling projects in the United States.

Governor Newsom has until October 13 to sign or veto legislation on his desk.