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Financial Recovery From COVID-19 For Small Water Systems In California

October 12, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

One of a series of trainings conducted by the Environmental Finance Center Network for the Smart Management for Small Water Systems project.

Download the presentation slides (PDF)

The pandemic has caused financial and managerial implications for water systems all across California.  Due to the serious public health implications, Governor Newsom issued an order on April 2, 2020 to suspend water shut-offs. The order is still in effect. This order is in line with California’s Human Right to Water law (AB 685), which declares that every person in the state has “a right to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water.” In 2019, the Governor signed SB 200 to provide funding to achieve this goal. This funding is referred to as “SAFER” Funding which stands for: Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience.

This webinar will provide an overview of the competing priorities of the water utility: serve all customers continuously and provide financial sustainability amid this crisis and beyond. We will then discuss alternative approaches to water shut offs and describe various ways that customers can be assisted, from the less direct approaches such as rate structures to the most direct approach of a formal Customer Assistance Program that pays all or a portion of customer bills. The webinar will also discuss SAFER Funding and the need to develop “shovel ready” projects to be able to take advantage of future federal funding, if it should become available. We will include a discussion of an option to assist systems in any type of crisis, called the CAL-WARN program.


  • Understand the two main priorities of a water system – serve all customers all the time with safe, healthy water and obtain sufficient revenue to ensure the utility can provide service now and into the future.
  • Understand there are many alternatives to water shut-offs, including less direct and direct approaches.
  • Understand the SAFER Funding Program.
  • Understand the CAL-WARN Program.
  • Know how to be ready for future funding.


10:30 – 10:40: Introduction to the Webinar Platform, the EFC Network, and the structure of the Webinar

10:40 – 11:00: Framing the Issue: The Main Priorities of a Water Utility and How They Can Conflict

11:00 – 11:30: Alternatives to Water Shut-Offs and Providing Assistance to Customers

11:30 – 11:50: SAFER Funding

11:50 – 12:05: Being Ready for Future Federal Funding

12:05 – 12:15: CAL-WARN Program

12:15  – 12:30: Q&A


This webinar is approved for 2 CE hours by the State Water Resources Control Board Drinking Water Operator Certification Program.


October 12, 2020
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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