Sen. Dodd Responds To Governor’s Water Rate Relief Plan

Monday, May 10, 2021

SACRAMENTO – With two bills of his own on water access and equity pending in the Legislature, Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, issued the following statement today in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that he would invest $1 billion to assist Californians struggling with water bills.

“I applaud Gov. Newsom for taking this critical step toward helping low-income Californians avoid being denied a basic necessity – water,” said Sen. Dodd. “It’s something I’ve been advocating for a long time. It will be important to build on this action and continue to look for ways to address the long-term needs of low-income families facing mounting water bills.”

Sen. Dodd has been fighting for better access to water for a long time. This year, he introduced Senate Bill 222, which establishes a water assistance fund for low-income rate payers experiencing economic hardship. He also introduced SB 223, which expands protections and protocols for customers who are faced with having their water shutoff because of an inability to pay their bills.  

Together they build on Sen. Dodd’s earlier legislation. His Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Act, or Assembly Bill 401, commissioned a study on how to address affordability. It resulted in recommendations including the proposed new fund. He also wrote The Water Shutoff Protection Act, or SB 998, which provided significant safeguards against water shutoffs.

This year’s bills, which await a hearing in the Senate Appropriations committee, come as the State Water Resources Control Board heard results of a survey Tuesday that found water debt in California climbed to about $1 billion. The survey estimated 12% of California households are behind on their water bills with an average debt of $500 per household. Many of those people are at risk of losing service.

Gov. Newsom today also announced other measures to help California families including $12 billion in tax rebates, a doubling of rent assistance and $1 billion in relief for other utility bills.


Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at