Dodd’s Open and Transparent Water Data Act Signed into Law

A new law signed by Governor Jerry Brown will help California meet the growing demand for water supply reliability and healthy ecosystems. The law, known as the Open and Transparent Water Data Act, was authored by Assemblymember Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and creates a transparent and universal platform for sharing water data across the state. In the midst of the most devastating drought in California history, this law will help move California towards a more effective water management system.
“The drought has exposed the need for a modern water information system to address the state’s water supply,” said Assemblymember Dodd. “California does not suffer from a lack of water data, but from a lack of usable water data needed to make smart decisions. This bill will create instant and accessible water information that will better enable water managers to cope with future drought conditions.”
“As California rapidly approaches a population of 40 million, with the world’s sixth largest economy, and in an era of climate change, we need to do a better job of measuring and managing the water we use,” said Lester Snow, Senior Advisor with the Water Foundation. “Only with long-term policy changes like the Open and Transparent Water Data Act of 2016 can we guarantee enough water for California’s farms, cities and environment.”
California has a number of databases containing information on hydrology, biology, water quality, the physical environment, and water use. Unfortunately, this information is not uniformly collected, easily accessible, or publicly shared. This has largely prevented water managers from making timely and science-based decisions to lead California into a more sustainable water future.
“This landmark legislation will be a game changer for managing California’s most precious resource for decades to come,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “California’s current water transfer market is inefficient and Assemblymember Bill Dodd’s legislation will create a fair, efficient and functional water marketplace with the power to ease the impact of drought and reduce water waste.”
“I would like to acknowledge Assemblymember Dodd’s leadership on this important aspect of water data collection and management. I also appreciate his willingness to continue working with the water community to refine and improve upon the proposal,” said Grant Davis, General Manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency. “The value of creating a statewide clearinghouse is that it allows us to make informed decisions based on data that already exist but are currently out of reach.”
The Act passed the legislature last month on a bipartisan vote, and was supported by leading environmental, business and water management groups. The new law also requires the development of open-data protocols for data sharing, transparency, documentation, and quality control that will avoid misunderstandings, reduce disputes, and increase the effectiveness of management decisions.
Elected in November of 2016 to represent California’s 3rd Senate District, Senator Bill Dodd is a fifth generation Californian and lifelong resident of the district, where he grew up on a small family farm in Napa County. California’s 5th State Senate District includes portions of Sacramento, Yolo, Napa, Sonoma, Solano and Contra Costa Counties.
Prior to his election to the State Senate, Bill represented the 4th Assembly District. In the Assembly, Bill worked to help small businesses, protect the environment, and support seniors and working families. He advanced a balanced, sustainable budget that invests in our education system from preschool through higher education. Bill helped establish the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, promote career technical education, and create the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument – preserving over 330,000 acres of the California Coast Ranges in Napa, Yolo, Solano, Lake, Colusa, Glenn and Mendocino counties.
Prior to his election to the Assembly, Senator Dodd served on the Napa County Board of Supervisors for thirteen years. His accomplishments include the completion of Napa’s flood control project, which protects thousands of properties from flooding, restored 900 acres of environmental wetlands and produced $1 billion of investment in local businesses.
Prior to his time in elected office, Bill was a successful small business owner. He owned and operated one of the largest full-service Culligan Water operations in California, and served as president of the water quality industry’s state and national trade associations. Senator Dodd is a graduate of California State University, Chico.
Bill and his wife Mary live in Napa and have five grown children and five grandchildren. The Napa Valley Chamber of Commerce recognized their philanthropic efforts by awarding Bill its 2014 “Citizen of the Year” for raising over $3 million for local charities.