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California Governor Brown Approves Assembly Bill 2551, Which Broadens Public Contracting Options for Surface Water Storage Projects

Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 2551 (AB 2551) on September 28, 2016. The bill aims to streamline the construction of local agency water storage projects. Specifically, the bill allows water storage projects to utilize alternative methods of public contract procurement that are intended to speed up the contracting process. Rather than requiring that a storage project’s bids for design and construction occur in two distinct and separate phases, the bill provides greater flexibility to a local entity and new options for contracting. These new contracting options include allowing local agencies to procure both design and construction services from a single company or, alternatively, choosing a construction manager to provide pre-construction services during design and who later becomes the general contractor.

As the California Water Commission finalizes its Water Storage Investment Program regulations this year, local agencies will soon turn to utilize the improved procurement options made available by AB 2551, which was enacted with zero no votes in the Assembly, Senate and all committees. The new methods of procurement will allow local agencies greater flexibility and provide greater efficiencies in procuring contracts for the design, construction, and operation of eligible storage projects. The full text of AB 2551 appears online at:

(David E. Cameron, Meredith Nikkel)