California Water Code Section 81601

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following: (a) The City and County of San Francisco has acquired or constructed a system of reservoirs, pipelines and tunnels, and treatment plants that provides water to 2.4 million Californians who live in San Francisco and in neighboring communities in Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties. (b) Over two-thirds of the Californians who rely on San Francisco` s regional water system, approximately 1.6 million persons, live outside San Francisco. A substantial majority of industrial, commercial, institutional, and governmental users are also located in neighboring communities rather than in San Francisco itself. (c) The reliability of this water infrastructure system is of vital importance to the health, welfare, safety, and economy of the region which it supplies. (d) In turn, this region is of vital importance to the entire State of California, because of the resident industries, universities, and commercial enterprises that employ millions of Californians and generate billions of dollars in exports and tax revenues to the state. (e) The regional water system is old, designed to outdated seismic safety standards, and either crosses or is located on, or adjacent to, three major active earthquake faults, the Calaveras Fault, the San Andreas Fault, and the Hayward Fault. Engineering investigations have disclosed that the system is at risk of catastrophic failure in a major earthquake. Many areas in all four counties now served, in the event of a major earthquake, face possible interruptions in their supplies of potable water for up to 30 days, and some areas could be without water for as long as 60 days. (f) Interruptions in water supply of this magnitude and duration to a densely populated metropolitan region could be disastrous for public health and safety and for the regional and state economy. In addition, uncontrolled releases of water from pipelines, tunnels, and reservoirs could create severe flood damage and environmental harm to fish and wildlife habitat in the communities in which those facilities are located. (g) Pursuant to the terms of the master water sales contract between the City and County of San Francisco and its wholesale customers, the retail water customers of the City and County of San Francisco provide the initial financing for the construction of improvements to the regional water system, and the wholesale customers do not pay for those improvements until those improvements are placed into service. (h) Many separate cities, special districts, and public utilities are responsible for the distribution of water in portions of the bay area served, on a wholesale basis, by the San Francisco regional water supply system. The distribution of responsibility among many agencies impedes coordinated regional actions, including financing, to respond to the crisis. (i) It is the intent of the Legislature to enable the City and County of San Francisco, and the entities in Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties that rely on the San Francisco regional water system, acting collectively, to secure funds necessary to implement the prompt construction and reconstruction of the San Francisco regional water system, and to make those funds available to the City and County of San Francisco for projects designed and intended in substantial part to improve the reliability of the regional water system, including, but not limited to, strengthening the system`s ability to withstand seismic events. (j) It is not the intent of the Legislature to change the governance structure, operational control, or existing ownership of San Francisco`s regional water system.