CHAPTER 409

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 549

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 3

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 13, TITLE 26 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TEMPORARY WATER COORDINATOR AND A WATER SUPPLY COORDINATING COUNCIL.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :

WHEREAS, the General Assembly finds that the enhancement of existing water supplies in northern New Castle County is essential to avoid a repeat of the difficulties experienced during the drought of 1999; and

WHEREAS, on August 26, 1999, the Governor's Water Supply Task Force was created and charged with reviewing Delaware's current and projected water supply along with current and projected demand; and

WHEREAS, the Task Force was further charged with providing recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly concerning short-term and long-term solutions to northern New Castle County's water supply needs; and

WHEREAS, on December 2, 1999, the Governor's Water Supply Task Force submitted its final Report, which recommends various actions and undertakings by utilities and others to move toward ensuring adequate water supply in the future; and

WHEREAS, in its Report, the Task Force identified a series of water supply enhancement projects which, if implemented, will provide a sufficient supply of water for northern New Castle County citizens during any future drought periods; and

WHEREAS, in its Report, the Task Force also recommends the establishment of a temporary Water Coordinator and a Council composed of water providers and others knowledgeable in water supply to monitor the implementation of these enhancement projects; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly finds that the implementation of the projects recommended in the Report, or similar projects providing a commensurate increase in water supply, is critical to ensuring adequate water supply in northern New Castle County during any future drought periods; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly finds that utilities should be encouraged to expeditiously implement and complete the identified water enhancement projects;

NOW THEREFORE:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Chapter 13, Title 26 of the Delaware Code by adding a new § 1305 to read as follows:

Ҥ 1305. Establishment of a Temporary Water Coordinator for New Castle County.

(a) The Water Resources Agency ("WRA") at the University of Delaware is hereby designated as the "Temporary Water Coordinator for New Castle County" pursuant to the recommendations contained in the final Report of the Governor's Water Supply Task Force submitted on December 2, 1999. The WRA shall monitor the implementation of short-term water supply enhancement projects as documented in that Report.

(b) The Delaware Geological Survey and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control shall work with the WRA to help ensure the timely implementation of the projects identified in the final Report.

(c) The WRA shall prepare, with the assistance of the Delaware Geological Survey and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, periodic reports for the Governor and the General Assembly summarizing the progress towards completion of the projects identified in the final Report. The WRA shall submit the first such report on, or before, May 31, 2000, and shall thereafter submit additional reports no less than twice each year.”

Section 2. Amend Chapter 13, Title 26 of the Delaware Code by adding a new § 1306 to read as follows:

Ҥ 1306. Establishment of a Temporary Water Supply Coordinating Council.

(a) A Water Supply Coordinating Council is hereby established.

(1) The Council shall have the following members:

a. the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control;

b. the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture;

c. the Executive Director of the Public Service Commission;

d. the Director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency;

e. the Director of the Division of Public Health;

f. the Public Advocate;

g. the Executive Director of the Delaware River Basin Commission;

h. a representative of the Office of the Governor;

i. a representative of the Government of New Castle County;

j. a representative of each public and private water utility serving New Castle County;

k. a representative of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce;

1. a representative of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce;

m. a representative of the Delaware Nursery and Landscape

Association;

n. a representative of the Professional Grounds Management

Society;

o. a representative of the Delaware State Golf Association;

and,

p. a representative of the Delaware Nature Society.

(2) The Governor shall appoint the representatives described in subparagraphs h. through p. of paragraph (1) of this subsection. The Council, by majority vote, may designate additional members of the Council.

(3) The Governor shall select a Chairperson from the members of the Council to serve at the pleasure of the Governor.

(b) the principal duty of the Council shall be to work cooperatively with the Temporary Water Coordinator for New Castle County (established pursuant to § 1305 of this Title) to implement short-term water supply enhancement projects. Additional duties of the Council shall consist of performing the following specific functions:

1. To provide technical input in conducting hydraulic field tests and/or modeling to optimize and expand the intra-county interconnections to convey water from suppliers with excess capacity to suppliers in need of additional water to meet peak demands;

2. To work with water utilities to develop cooperative market based cost and capacity agreements for the purchase of water supplies during drought and other times emphasizing the need for providers with supply deficiencies to enter agreements which assure adequate supply to customers;

3. To provide technical input to the recently authorized U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Groundwater Availability Study for northern New Castle County; and

4. To examine appropriate utilization of all water supply sources located in both northern and southern New Castle County.”

(c) The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Delaware Geological Survey, and the Water Resources Agency of the University of Delaware shall provide staff support for the Council.”

Section 3. Amend Chapter 13, Title 26 of the Delaware Code by adding a new § 1307 to read as follows:

Ҥ 1307. Recovery of costs of water supply enhancement projects in rates of public utilities.

In the case of a public utility subject to the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission, upon the determination by the Commission that a water supply enhancement project identified in the final report of the Governor's Water Supply Task Force has been placed into service by the utility and is used and useful in the provision of public utility service, the public utility shall be entitled to recover, in its rates, its reasonable and prudently incurred capital and on-going operating costs for such project. Nothing in this section shall preclude the Commission from authorizing an allowance for funds used during construction for any such identified enhancement project."

Section 4. Amend Chapter 13, Title 26 of the Delaware Code by adding a new Section 1308 to read as follows:

Ҥ 1308. Length of Service for Temporary Water Coordinator and Water Supply Coordinating Council.

The designation of the WRA as the Temporary Water Coordinator for New Castle County, the designation of the Water Supply Coordinating Council and the duties and responsibilities conferred upon each by this section shall be subject to annual reauthorization by the General Assembly beginning no later than June 30, 2001. Such reauthorization shall be for a period not to exceed one year, and shall be based on the Water Supply Coordinating Council demonstrating that water provider(s) have acted in good faith to make the investments, system improvements or agreements necessary to assure adequate quality water supply, during drought and at other times for their customers.”

Section 5. This act shall become effective upon its enactment.

Approved July 06, 2000