SAFER Program Water System Administrator
Section 116686 of the California Health and Safety Code, adopted in September 2018 gave the State Water Board new authority to order the appointment of an Administrator to a public water system after it makes findings that are required and completes the required public notification process. An administrator can be appointed to a designated public water system to provide administrative, technical, operational, legal, or managerial services, or any combination of those services (limited-scope administrator), as well as full management and control of all aspects to a designated water system (full-scope administrator). As such, it is a relatively flexible tool that can be tailored to the needs of a water system. In addition, the cost of an administrator is funded by the State Water Board, so it is a means of providing needed assistance to a designated public water system without cost to that public water system. An administrator can be an individual or an entity with the necessary qualifications to carry out the responsibilities required for a specific designated water system.
All actions taken by an administrator are required to be in the best interest of the community served by the water system and must be intended to develop the water system’s capability to sustainably deliver an adequate supply of affordable, safe drinking water so that the services of the administrator are no longer necessary. There are also reporting requirements for an administrator to keep the governing board or owner of the water system and the customers served informed about actions taken and status of the system. In addition, there is a process in the Administrator Policy Handbook that allows any ratepayer, renter, or property owner who receives water from a designated water system to submit a petition to the State Water Board for the reversal or modification of an administrator decision or replacement of an administrator. A complete description the administrator authority is contained in section 116686 of the Health and Safety Code and in the Administrator Policy Handbook the State Water Board Adopted in September 2019.
For more information on SAFER, visit the Safe and Affordable Fund for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) website.