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California Drinking Water Needs Assessment

Needs Assessment Core Components:

Go to the Risk Assessment section
Go to the Cost Assessment section
Go to the Affordability Assessment section

In 2019, to advance the goals of the Human Right to Water “HR2W”, California passed Senate Bill 200, which enabled the State Water Board to establish the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Program. Foremost among the tools created for SAFER is the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. The Fund provides up to $130 million per year through 2030 to enable the State Water Board to develop and implement sustainable solutions for underperforming drinking water systems. The annual Fund Expenditure Plan prioritizes projects for funding, documents past and planned expenditures, and is “based on data and analysis drawn from the drinking water Needs Assessment.”

For more information on SAFER, visit the Safe and Affordable Fund for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) website.

Preliminary 2023 Needs Assessment Results

The State Water Board is proposing enhancements to the 2023 Needs Assessment. These changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the Needs Assessment and accommodate for data availability. These changes are summarized in the resources below. Public feedback on the proposed changes is due by February 24, 2023.

Needs Assessment Methodology Development

The State Water Board has been hosting public webinar workshops to provide opportunities for stakeholders to learn about and contribute to the development of the Needs Assessment methodologies. These methodologies will be refined over time, particularly as new information becomes available or as new regulatory changes occur.

Identifying public water systems (starting with 3,300 or less service connections) and K-12 schools that are at-risk of failing to provide adequate safe drinking water. The State Water Board will be coordinating with Indian Health Services and U.S. EPA to develop and conduct a Risk Assessment for tribal water systems in California.

Identifying state small water systems and regions where domestic wells are at-risk of failing to provide adequate safe drinking water.

Determining the costs related to the implementation of interim and longer-term solutions for systems on the Human Right to Water list and At-Risk systems.

Identifying community water systems that serve disadvantaged communities that must charge their customers’ fees that exceed the affordability threshold established by the State Water Board in order to provide adequate safe drinking water.

The Pilot California Small Water Systems Rates Dashboard is an online tool, prepared in collaboration with University of North Carolina’s Environmental Finance Center, that allows users to compare or benchmark residential rates, financial, and system performance data of community water systems serving between 500 and 3,300 connections.

The original scope of the Needs Assessment was developed prior to passage of SB 200 and was originally designed to be conducted as a one-time study. Three State Water Board workshops hosted in early 2019 informed the original scope of the Needs Assessment to be developed through a contract with UCLA. After the passage of SB 200 and the establishment of the State Water Board’s Needs Analysis Unit the scope of the Needs Assessment pivoted to more closely align with the goals of the Human Right to Water and SB 200. The Needs Assessment is now required to be conducted annually and is used to inform the Fund Expenditure Plan for the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.

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2022 Needs Assessment Data Dashboard Map

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If you need assistance with this webpage in Spanish, please contact Mandy Roman at (916) 341-5265 or at

Si necesita asistencia en español con esta página web, puede contactar a Mandy Roman al (916) 341-5265 o en