Glazer proposal on rainwater capture systems headed to statewide vote

Constitutional amendment would prevent a new system from triggering property reassessment

With the water supply still on many minds across California, local State Senator Steve Glazer has authored a proposal that will be taken to statewide voters in June aimed at providing a tax incentive for people who install a rainwater recycling system on their property.

Unanimously endorsed by both legislative houses, Senate Constitutional Amendment (SCA) 9 would add rainwater capture systems to the list of building additions that would not trigger a reassessment of the property's value -- and the associated increase in property taxes that would follow.

"If approved by the voters, this rainwater recycling measure could play a key part in California's overall strategy of conserving our most precious resource, water," Glazer (D-Orinda) said in a statement this week after Gov. Jerry Brown approved associated legislation to send SCA 9 to the ballot.

Typically, new construction or additions to an existing home or building would result in the property needing to be reappraised by the county assessor -- with four exceptions.

Glazer's proposed amendment would add a fifth exemption to the list, in an effort to encourage property owners to install rainwater capture systems.

"Boom and bust cycles of rain may be the new norm as we face the disruptive power of climate change," the Tri-Valley's state senator said. "Conservation and water storage are key elements of allowing California to thrive despite these future difficulties."

The systems collect, store and repurpose rainwater for landscape irrigation and other non-potable uses. For example, Glazer said, a system atop a 1,500-square-foot roof in a moderate rainfall region could capture an estimated 10,000 gallons per year.

The local legislator pointed to Brown's words in his recent State of the State address on the importance of supporting rainwater recapturing now and in the years ahead.

"As the climate changes and more water arrives as rain instead of snow, it is crucial that we are able to capture the overflow in a timely and responsible way," the governor said. "That, together with recycling and rainwater recapture, will put us in the best position to use water wisely and in the most efficient way possible."

Glazer said his proposal -- on the June 5 ballot as Proposition 72 -- is modeled after similar legislation from the 1980s that added an exclusion for solar systems that helped the solar industry get off the ground. Current law also exempts reconstruction to install fire prevention or suppression systems, to make a home more accessible for a severely disabled person or to make any building more usable by a disabled person.

"It is my hope that small scale water storage systems will follow the path of rooftop solar systems that allow property owners to save money and contribute to the conservation of finite resources," Glazer added.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said his office is accepting ballot arguments for and against Prop 72 through Tuesday to appear in June's voter information guide, with rebuttal arguments due Feb. 15.

For more information on Prop 72 or the June primary election in general, visit the Secretary of State website.

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3 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 3, 2018 at 10:46 am

Good proposal. Definitely, it is one of the smart ways to save water. I’ve been thinking to add such system to my property. One question is typical raining season here is focused in Nov to March. Unless you build a big reservoir or dig a pond, otherwise it is difficult to collect significant amount of water for rest of time especially summer to use just by barrels. Or I’m wrong? Nevertheless, I would vote Yes for this one. Saving little or saving a lot is better than none, an old mantra?

13 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 3, 2018 at 2:07 pm

This is a crazy idea. 748 gallons of water per unit so do the math and you will see this is like spitting in the ocean in terms of addressing needs based on his 10,000 gallons for an average sized home. Put the money into increased reservoirs.

4 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 4, 2018 at 7:27 am

Thank you Steve for focusing on a real problem and not some political sanctuary city type made up problem.

Definitely the right problem.
Like the intent, do share some of petes drop in the bucket concerns though.

I do think reducing the need for rain/well water is a better use (ie- how can homeowners get recycled water to their homes for lawn/garden etc freeing up that water for drinking/food,etc without needing a truck

Per the article the fundamental issue is reservoirs are dependent on snow runoff, the underlying thought here is that dependency may be problematic - if true this is a good strategy. If false, I agree expanding existing capacity is probably wiser.

Additionally, think of the recent complaints we've had with our district eater constituents.....other than the recycled water program (I think a good decision) do you want to funnel more money into a government beuracrcy run by politics and unions.

Like this comment
Posted by caywen
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 4, 2018 at 11:13 am

748 is 7.48% of 10,000. That is appreciable.

5 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 4, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Jack is a registered user.

Wait... So if you put some cans at your downspouts or otherwise try to capture rainwater, your property is subject to a reassessment? And we have to propose a measure to fix the taxation of rainwater catchers? God help us...

19 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 4, 2018 at 5:47 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.


Let those words sink in for just a minute...

The government assesses value to capture a freely available resource because...why?

It is simply amazing that people vote Democrat.

19 people like this
Posted by dknute
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 5, 2018 at 9:22 am

dknute is a registered user.

Sticking your finger in a dike. Why not increase capacity and numbers of reservoirs instead. A residence can’t collect enough usable water without their own pond. The gallons proposed wouldn’t be sufficient.
Build bigger damns and more storage reservoirs.

21 people like this
Posted by Water Professional
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 5, 2018 at 9:34 am

Being in the water business I know that the economoics of rainwater harvesting don't pencil out for most of CA. We don't get rain year round which makes the concept a non-starter. If he was really interested in saving water he might look at making it easier to reuse laundry wash water to be applied to lawns. Low cost, plenty of water, relatively easy to implement. However, the state regulations make it difficult to do.

1 person likes this
Posted by Silly Idea
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2018 at 11:46 pm

I don't know what Glazer and Brown are up to, but I am convinced that it has nothing to do with saving water. Absent an expensive, large storage system for this water, it makes no sense.

A better way might be to allow people to install a parallel waste water collection system in homes that can collect sink and shower water and redirect it to landscape. No expensive storage system required for this, just a simple pump. Not certain about water from dishwashers and washing machines since they may have too much soap for the plants.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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