Recent Report Forecasts Economic Hardships for Water Utilities Nationwide

As California businesses remain closed and residents stay at home under shelter-in-place orders, water utilities are at the frontlines ensuring continued access to safe drinking water. Still, it seems that no industry is immune to COVID-19’s economic impacts. A recent analysis prepared for the American Water Works Association and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies estimates that revenue shortfalls for the water industry could result in a $32.7 billion reduction in nation-wide economic activity, with significant impacts on private sector jobs and investment in ...

WEBINAR: Keeping Current on COVID-19 Challenges for the Water Industry

Please join our Water Industry Team on April 16, 2020 for “Keeping Current on COVID-19 Challenges for the Water Industry,” a special presentation as part of our 2020 Water Webinar Series. 

There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted business operations in virtually every business sector, and the water industry is no exception. We are mindful of how strenuous it is for our clients to navigate these turbulent times as they continue to provide critical services to our communities and adapt quickly to new emergency orders ...

Emergencies and the Coastal Act

In the past, the Coastal Commission has taken a very negative view on any limitations of public beach access. In fact, one can say that the Commission has been downright aggressive in pursuing what it perceived to be limitations on public access. In 2014, the California Legislature effectively weaponized the Commission, passing legislation that authorized the Commission to impose administrative penalties on anyone they concluded to be in violation of a public access provision. (See Pub. Resources Code, § 30821.) Previously, the Commission needed to make a finding of unpermitted ...

Keeping Current on COVID-19 Challenges for the Water Industry

There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted business operations in virtually every business sector, and the water industry is no exception.  We are mindful of how strenuous it is for our clients to navigate these turbulent times as they continue to provide critical services to our communities and adapt quickly to new emergency orders.

We have received a number of questions and concerns from clients on how the current pandemic affects the water industry, and what to expect going forward. We will be hosting a webinar on April 16, 2020 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. PT to address some of the latest updates on these issues and to help answer questions. Please click here to register.

In the meantime, the following summarizes some of the key issues facing water industry professionals, which we will address also in more detail during the webinar ...

EPA Announces Temporary Policy Suspending Enforcement of Certain Environmental Compliance Obligations During Coronavirus Pandemic

On March 26, 2020, EPA announced a temporary enforcement discretion policy to excuse violations of environmental laws in specified circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic. EPA has stated that as of Friday, April 3, it has not issued any waivers for "essential critical infrastructure" that cannot comply with environmental enforcement during the novel coronavirus pandemic. More information on what could be considered “critical infrastructure” during the pandemic is available here. Nossaman continues to follow developments regarding EPA’s ...

DOJ-ENRD Issues Policy Memorandum Ending Use of SEPs in Environmental Settlements

On March 12, 2020, Jeffrey Bossert Clark, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Environment & Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ-ENRD”) issued a policy memorandum formally ending the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects (“SEPs”) in civil settlement agreements negotiated by DOJ-ENRD. SEPs are an enforcement mechanism that have been used by EPA and DOJ-ENRD to allow settling parties to agree to perform environmentally beneficial projects in exchange for lowered or even waived monetary penalties. Typically, SEPs are ...

Water Board Issues Draft Definition of Microplastics in Drinking Water

The California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) recently issued a draft Definition of Microplastics in Drinking Water and an accompanying staff report. The State Water Board will host a video/teleconference workshop on the draft definition on April 7, 2020 and written comments will be accepted until April 24, 2020. Here is the draft definition ...

Supporting Our Clients in the Wake of the COVID-19 Outbreak

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, we are closely monitoring guidance issued by local, state and federal authorities, as well as information distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. We are dedicated to helping clients address business disruptions, anticipate potential challenges and mitigate risk associated with irregular operations. We are available to assist in a number of core areas that may impact public agencies and businesses in this rapidly changing environment. Please visit our COVID-19 Response Team page to read our ongoing coverage of these issues as they evolve ...

Water Supply & Delivery Projects Under the ESA

Recently, Lyn Clancy, Managing Associate General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor for the Lower Colorado River Authority, and I presented on the topic of Endangered Species and Water Supply at the State Bar of Texas’ Changing Face of Water Law Conference in San Antonio. Issues of water supply and delivery continue to be a hot topic nationwide, including in Texas, and supply and delivery projects often intersect with the need to address species of plants and wildlife listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The presentation included several primary takeaways ...

March 22 is World Water Day!

World Water Day is an annual United Nations international observance day that highlights the importance of freshwater.  The U.N. chooses a theme for the day each year, and for 2020 the theme is “Water and Climate Change." The goal of World Water Day is to inspire people around the world to learn more about water-related issues and to take action to make a difference. In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an additional focus on hand washing and hygiene.  World Water Day is celebrated around the world through political, artistic, and educational events, as well as ...

California Water Views provides timely and insightful updates on the water sector in the state. We relay information on how water legislation and policy from the nation’s capital, Sacramento, and around the U.S. affect California’s water utilities, agencies, practitioners, and consumers.  We also write about important events, conferences, legal cases, and other key happenings involving all things water in and around California.

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