Chapter 2. Water Companies of California Public Utilities Code >> Division 1. >> Part 2. >> Chapter 2.
Any person, firm, or corporation, their lessees, trustees,
receivers or trustees appointed by any court whatsoever, owning,
controlling, operating, or managing any water system within this
State, who sells, leases, rents, or delivers water to any person,
firm, corporation, municipality, or any other political subdivision
of the State, whether under contract or otherwise, is a public
utility, and is subject to the provisions of Part 1 of Division 1 and
to the jurisdiction, control, and regulation of the commission,
except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
Any corporation or association which is organized for the
purpose of delivering water solely to its stockholders or members at
cost, and which delivers water to others than its stockholders or
members, or to the state or any department or agency thereof or any
school district, or to any other mutual water company, for
compensation, is a public utility and is subject to Part 1
(commencing with Section 201) and to the jurisdiction, control, and
regulation of the commission.
Any corporation or association which is organized both for
the purpose of delivering water to its stockholders or members at
cost, and to persons, firms, corporations, municipalities, or other
political subdivisions of the state, is a public utility and is
subject to Part 1 (commencing with Section 201) and to the
jurisdiction, control, and regulation of the commission.
Any owner of a water supply not otherwise dedicated to public
use and primarily used for domestic or industrial purposes by him or
for the irrigation of his lands, who (a) sells or delivers the
surplus of such water for domestic or school district purposes or for
the irrigation of adjoining lands, or (b) in an emergency water
shortage sells or delivers water from such supply to others for a
limited period not to exceed one irrigation season, or (c) sells or
delivers a portion of such water supply as a matter of accommodation
to neighbors to whom no other supply of water for domestic or
irrigation purposes is equally available, is not subject to the
jurisdiction, control, and regulation of the commission.
Any corporation or association that is organized for the
purposes of delivering water to its stockholders and members at cost,
including use of works for conserving, treating, and reclaiming
water, and that delivers water to no one except its stockholders or
members, or to the state or any agency or department thereof, to any
city, county, school district, or other public district, or any
federal agency that provides fire protection or operates park
facilities, or to any other mutual water company, at cost, is not a
public utility, and is not subject to the jurisdiction, control or
regulation of the commission. However, a mutual water company may
perform the following acts without becoming a public utility and
becoming subject to the jurisdiction, control or regulation of the
(a) May deliver water at cost to any lessee of its stock or shares
or other evidence of membership where the lease is in writing signed
by the owner of the stock or shares or other evidence of membership
and the lessee thereof and approved by the mutual water company.
(b) May deliver water at cost to any land leased by a stockholder,
shareholder, or member of the mutual water company to a person not a
stockholder, shareholder or member thereof, provided the lease is in
writing signed by the stockholder, shareholder or member and the
lessee of the land and approved by the mutual water company.
(c) May transfer water or water rights to, or exchange water or
water rights with, another entity pursuant to state or federal law,
(d) In a bona fide water emergency, but for no longer than the
existence of the emergency, may deliver water at cost to any person
owning or leasing real property located within or adjacent to the
service area of the mutual water company, provided that the water is
delivered pursuant to a written contract signed by the mutual water
company and the person to whom the water is delivered.
(e) May deliver water pursuant to any contract for water service
(1) In settlement of litigation involving disputed water rights or
any judgment in the litigation.
(2) In consideration of the conveyance of a well, water right, or
easement for water distribution purposes.
All of these leases and contracts shall be preserved for a period
of 10 years by a mutual water company and shall be subject to
inspection by the commission.
The term "cost" as used in this section shall be construed to mean
Any person or corporation, and their lessees, receivers, or
trustees appointed by any court, that maintains a mobilehome park or
a multiple unit residential complex and provides, or will provide,
water service to users through a submeter service system is not a
public utility and is not subject to the jurisdiction, control, or
regulation of the commission if each user of the submeter service
system is charged at the rate which would be applicable if the user
were receiving the water directly from the water corporation.
(a) (1) A mobilehome park that provides water service only
to its tenants from water supplies and facilities that it owns, not
otherwise dedicated to public service, is not a water corporation.
However, if a complaint is filed with the commission by tenants of
the mobilehome park that represent 10 percent or more of the park's
water service connections during any 12-month period, claiming that
the water rates charged by the park are not just and reasonable or
that the service is inadequate, the commission shall have
jurisdiction to determine the merits of the complaint and shall
determine, based on all the facts and circumstances, whether the
rates charged are just and reasonable and whether the service
provided is adequate.
(2) The numerical threshold of persons may include former or
current tenants, or both.
(3) A person shall not file a complaint against a mobilehome park
pursuant to paragraph (1) if that person has not resided in that
mobilehome park within the last five years.
(b) Complaints filed pursuant to subdivision (a) are subject to
this code and to the Rules of Practice and Procedure of the
commission governing complaints and commission investigations.
(c) (1) A mobilehome park, as described in subdivision (a), shall
provide written notice to each of the mobilehome park's tenants to
inform those tenants of their right to, and how to, file a complaint
with the commission about the water rates charged or the service
provided by the mobilehome park. With respect to the notice, the
mobilehome park shall do all of the following:
(A) Provide the notice to new tenants at the time the tenants
establish residence within the mobilehome park.
(B) Provide the notice to tenants each time the mobilehome park
changes water rates or service.
(2) (A) Notwithstanding any other law, the notice provided by a
mobilehome park pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be written in
English, the languages set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 1632
of the Civil Code, and the language or languages of primary
communication with the residents receiving the notice.
(B) The commission shall prepare and make available on its
Internet Web site an approved notice in English and the languages set
forth in subdivision (b) of Section 1632 of the Civil Code. In
providing notice pursuant to paragraph (1), a mobilehome park shall
use the then-current language made available by the commission
pursuant to this subparagraph.
(3) A mobilehome park that fails to provide the notice required by
this subdivision shall be subject to the penalties established in
(d) The commission may afford rate relief or may order the
mobilehome park to improve its water supply, facilities, and services
on those terms that it finds just and reasonable, or both.
(e) If the commission finds, after investigation, that the
mobilehome park has charged an unjust or unreasonable rate in
violation of this section subsequent to December 31, 2012, the
commission shall order the mobilehome park to reimburse the
complainants and any other current and former tenants affected by the
rate, if no discrimination will result from the reimbursement.
Reimbursement shall be calculated from the first date of collection
of the unjust or unreasonable rate, with interest. The commission
shall not make an order for the payment of reimbursement upon the
ground of unjustness or unreasonableness if the rate in question has
been previously declared by formal finding of the commission to be
reasonable. The commission shall not recognize the assignment of a
reimbursement claim except assignments by operation of law as in
cases of death, insanity, bankruptcy, receivership, or order of
(f) The public advisor created pursuant to Section 321 and
necessary staff of the commission shall assist the complainants.
(a) Any person, firm, or corporation, their lessees,
trustees, receivers or trustees appointed by any court, who sells or
delivers water exclusively to a water conservation district organized
under the laws of the state or who leases or otherwise permits the
use of ditches or other water transmission facilities exclusively by
the district is not a public utility within the meaning of this
chapter. No portion of the works, property, or water rights of any of
those parties shall be deemed dedicated to a public use by reason of
selling or delivering water to a water conservation district.
(b) Any person, firm, or corporation with water that is not being
used to supply water to a public water system, or that is not
otherwise dedicated to public use, that sells, leases, transfers, or
otherwise delivers the water at wholesale to any public agency or to
a water corporation providing water utility service, is not a public
utility within the meaning of this chapter.
(c) This section does not apply to mutual water companies.
For the purpose of determining the status of any person,
firm, or corporation, their lessees, trustees, receivers or trustees
appointed by any court, owning, controlling, operating, or managing
any water system or water supply within this state, the commission
may hold hearings and issue process and orders in the manner and to
the same extent as provided in Part 1 (commencing with Section 201),
and the findings and conclusions of the commission on questions of
fact arising under this chapter are final and not subject to review,
except as provided in Part 1 (commencing with Section 201).
Whenever the commission, after a hearing had upon its own
motion or upon complaint, finds that any water company which is a
public utility operating within this State has reached the limit of
its capacity to supply water and that no further consumers of water
can be supplied from the system of such utility without injuriously
withdrawing the supply wholly or in part from those who have
theretofore been supplied by the corporation, the commission may
order and require that no such corporation shall furnish water to any
new or additional consumers until the order is vacated or modified
by the commission. The commission, after hearing upon its own motion
or upon complaint, may also require any such water company to allow
additional consumers to be served when it appears that service to
additional consumers will not injuriously withdraw the supply wholly
or in part from those who theretofore had been supplied by such
The commission may require any water corporation to file with
the commission a statement in writing defining and describing the
lands and territory to be supplied by the corporation with water.
When it appears from (a) the statement required by Section
2709, (b) the articles of incorporation of any water corporation, or
(c) any notice of appropriation of water required by law, that a
water corporation has undertaken to supply more consumers or a
greater number of acres than it can adequately supply, the commission
may require the corporation to limit the number of consumers or
acres of land which it has undertaken to supply or which is set out
in its articles of incorporation or notices of appropriation to such
a limited number of consumers or acres of land as the commission
finds, after hearing, that the water corporation may adequately
Section 2710 does not apply to territory or consumers which
have once been served by the corporation. As between consumers who
have been voluntarily admitted to participate by the corporation in
its supply of water or required to be supplied by an order of the
commission, in times of water shortage the corporation shall give no
priority or preference but shall apportion its supply ratably among
"Whether under contract or otherwise" as used in Section 2701
is not to be construed as authorizing a contract by a person or
corporation defined in this chapter as a public utility which in
anywise deprives the State or the commission or other competent
authority of power to regulate the rates and service of any such
(a) No water corporation subject to the jurisdiction and
control of the commission and the provisions of Part 1 (commencing
with Section 201) of this division shall make any charge upon any
entity providing fire protection service to others for furnishing
water for such fire protection purposes or for any costs of
operation, installation, capital, maintenance, repair, alteration, or
replacement of facilities related to furnishing water for such fire
protection purposes within the service area of such water
corporation, except pursuant to a written agreement with such entity
providing fire protection services. A water corporation shall furnish
water for fire protection purposes to the extent of its means and as
a condition of a certificate of public convenience and necessity, in
case of fire or other great necessity, within the boundaries of the
territory served by it for use within such territory.
(b) The provisions of subdivision (a) shall not restrict or limit
a water corporation furnishing water for fire protection purposes
from levying charges for water service or facilities, including water
for fire protection purposes, on any person, property, or entity,
whether public or private, other than on an entity providing fire
Such charges shall be collected from such other persons, property,
or entities pursuant to existing provisions of law which authorize
such charges, or from an entity providing fire protection services
only pursuant to a written agreement authorizing such charges.
(c) For the purposes of this section, "entity providing fire
protection service" means a city, county, city and county, whether
general law or chartered, and a fire company, fire protection
district, or any other person, association, company, corporation,
special district, municipal corporation, or any other public or
private entity, which public or private entity or person provides
fire protection services to any other public or private entity or
No water corporation furnishing water for residential use to
a tenant shall seek to recover any charges or penalties for the
furnishing of water to or for the tenant's residential use from any
subsequent tenant on account of nonpayment of charges by a previous
tenant. The water corporation may, however, require that service to
subsequent tenants be furnished on the account of the landlord or
The commission shall, by June 30, 2008, prepare and submit
to the Legislature, a report that describes the progress achieved
toward implementing the policy objectives of the commission's Water
Action Plan, adopted December 15, 2005, which includes all of the
(a) The progress achieved toward development and implementation of
a ratemaking mechanism and rate design that will encourage water
conservation and efficient water use.
(b) The progress achieved toward development and implementation of
rates that remove the financial disincentive for water corporations
to conserve water that exists in the current rate structure, while
preserving continued revenue stability for water corporations as new
rate structures are implemented.
(c) The impacts of water conservation and efficiency programs on
future water, energy, and wastewater treatment costs to customers of