On October 5, 2020, the LAFCO adopted the Napa Countywide Water and Wastewater Municipal Service Review (MSR). LAFCO is required to prepare a Countywide Water MSR by the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (Government Code §56000, et seq.), which took effect on January 1, 2001. The water and wastewater service review examines services provided by public agencies whose boundaries and governance are subject to LAFCO.
The MSR reviewed the water service adequacy for each of the 14 agency providers, including distribution system integrity as defined by breaks and leaks and system water loss, and drinking water quality. Based on these indicators, it was found that all agencies in Napa provide at least minimally adequate water service.
The MSR identified various challenges to water service providers in Napa County, including:
- Lack of a regional outlook for water resources,
- A need for cohesive and comprehensive policies affecting both growth and water supply (i.e., trucked water policies),
- Lack of a single entity accounting for water supply and demand throughout the County to better leverage available resources,
- Collaboration on a case-by-case scenario,
- Some County water resources not being used to the fullest extent possible,
- A need for greater oversight of all jurisdictions providing water services in the County,
- A need for support buying on the spot market,
- Certain redundancies with several smaller systems around the County, which could be eliminated,
- A need for support of mutual water companies and small non-public water systems,
- A need for supplemental technical expertise and support, and
- A lack of economies of scale in the smaller water and wastewater systems.
One recommendation to address various challenges to water service provisions identified in the MSR is to promote regionalization of planning and solidarity of organization for water resources. Governance options include a single agency to conduct water supply management on a regional or countywide level, such as a county water agency and/or an agency to provide management and operational support to the smaller utility systems that could benefit from the consolidation of certain services (i.e., lab testing) or from fully transitioning to operations by a regional agency, such as a county water district. A county water agency, county water district, or joint powers authority would provide a means to improve efficiency of water supply management in the County, as well as continued and enhanced resource sharing.