Priority for Water and Sewer

Requisite Analysis

Per Chapter 727, Statues of 2004 (SB 1087), upon completion of an amended or adopted housing element, a local government is responsible for immediately distributing a copy of the housing element to area water and sewer providers. In addition, water and sewer providers must grant priority for service allocations to proposed developments that include housing units affordable to lower-income households. Chapter 727 was enacted to improve the effectiveness of the law in facilitating housing development for lower-income families and workers.

Updates or amendments to the housing element should be sent to water and sewer providers within a month after adoption. When submitting copies of housing elements to water and sewer providers, HCD further recommends inclusion of a summary/quantification of the local government’s regional housing need allocation and any other appropriate housing information.

To effectively implement the law, local governments are strongly encouraged to consult with water and sewer providers during the development and update of the housing element (as opposed to only notifying the providers after the adoption of the housing element). Involvement during the development and update process will facilitate effective coordination between local planning and water and sewer service functions to ensure adequate water and sewer capacity is available to accommodate housing needs, especially housing for lower-income households.

Local public and/or private water and sewer providers must adopt written policies and procedures that grant a priority for service hook-ups to developments that help meet the community’s share of the regional need for lower-income housing. In addition, the law prohibits water and sewer providers from denying, conditioning the approval, or reducing the amount of service for an application for development that includes housing affordable to lower-income households, unless specific written findings are made.

Urban water management plans must include projected water use for single-family and multifamily housing needed for lower-income households. This law is useful in areas with limited available sewer or water hook-ups.