Reaching New Heights in Water Reuse: Register Early to Ensure Your Spot
House Energy and Water Funding Bill Moves Forward, Includes Funding for Water Reuse Grants
The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed a package of funding bills that includes the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for FY 2021. As WateReuse reported previously, the bill includes $11.8 million for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI-WIIN Water Reclamation and Reuse Program and $24 million for the Desalination and Water Purification Program.
Given the limited amount of time before the end of FY 2020, Congress will almost certainly pass a continuing resolution at some point in September to extend current funding levels and allow more time for negotiations. WateReuse is working with members of the House and Senate to increase funding for Title XVI-WIIN in final FY 2021 appropriations legislation.
U.S House of Representatives Passes Water Resources Development Act of 2020
Last week, the U.S. House passed its version of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA). Unlike the version passed by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the House bill focuses narrowly on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its ability to carry out water resource development projects and studies.
WateReuse is actively working with members of the House and Senate to ensure that water recycling priorities that were included in the Senate version—and in separate infrastructure legislation in the House—are included in the final conference agreement for WRDA. House and Senate negotiators are expected to begin informally conferencing their respective bills over the August recess.
Negotiations Continue on Next COVID-19 Relief Package
The White House, Senate, and House of Representatives continued negotiations on the next COVID-19 relief package into the weekend with little progress. As supplemental unemployment benefits expired on July 31, no deal had been reached on either a comprehensive relief package or a more limited extension of unemployment benefits. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has set up votes on a limited extension; however, Democrats are expected to oppose the move in favor of negotiating a more comprehensive relief package.
The Senate released their $1 trillion COVID-19 relief package last week. The legislation does not include relief for municipalities nor support for low-income ratepayers, both of which were included in the most recent House-passed relief bill, the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800).
Report Finds $375 Million Funding Gap for State Drinking Water Programs
The Association of State Drinking Water Agencies (ASDWA) released an analysis last week on the necessary resources for states and territories to run their drinking water programs and protect public health. The report found the funding gap for 2020 to be $375 million, increasing to $469 million in 2029. The funding gap has increased by $197 million since the previous analysis in 2011 due to increasing demands on state programs to address unregulated contaminants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and harmful algal blooms (HABs), and to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal share of program funding has decreased by 8% since the previous analysis in 2011. The report was referenced in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change on July 28.
Water is Essential to America’s COVID-19 Recovery
Politico highlighted the importance of water utilities in supplying water and sanitation during the coronavirus pandemic and estimated a $30 billion fallout across the water and wastewater sector. Moratoriums on utility cutoffs in combination with historic unemployment rates, the closing of offices, slowed production, and emptied airports all create the perfect storm for lost revenue essential to water and wastewater providers. The water sector continues to push Congress to address the water industry’s growing affordability challenge. Read More.
WateReuse Awards for Excellence
Submit a Nomination for the 2021 WateReuse Awards for Excellence
Is your utility or business demonstrating leadership in advancing water recycling? Or do you know of an organization, individual, or partnership that has implemented an innovative solution that will inspire others? If so, submit a nomination for the 2021 WateReuse Awards for Excellence to get the recognition you deserve. Nominations are due September 30, 2020.
The 2021 WateReuse Awards for Excellence will recognize accomplishments for 2019 and 2020. Winners will be recognized in conjunction with the 36th Annual WateReuse Symposium, March 14-17, 2021. Submit a nomination now!
State Updates and Member Profiles
Georgia: Momentum is Building for Water Reuse Across State
Water Resources Planner for Athens-Clarke County, Marilyn Hall, shared Georgia’s journey with water reuse and recycling in a recent LinkedIn blog. She highlights the growing momentum as “water providers, regulators, and researchers continue to make new investments in both potable and non-potable water recycling.” Cities across Georgia are providing recycled water for industrial cooling, such as Douglasville-Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority, recycled water for irrigation in Savannah, Braselton, and Winder, and indirect potable reuse in Gwinnett County and the Clayton County Water Authority. Read More.
California: Governor Newsom Looks to Expand Water Recycling in Final Water Resilience Plan
Maryland: Bureau of Reclamation Doubles Federal Cost Share for East Coast Potable Reuse Pilot Study
The City of Westminster will receive double the federal funding it expected for a $700,000 pilot project that could lead to the first potable reuse program in the State of Maryland. The eight month pilot program will study the feasibility of purifying treated wastewater and returning it to the city’s reservoir. The Bureau of Reclamation was interested in supporting water reuse projects outside of the West Coast and looked to a city like Westminster that faces similar water security challenges. Instead of the typical 25% cost share, the federal grant will cover 50% of the study’s costs under Reclamation’s Desalination and Water Purification Program. The Maryland Department of the Environment is overseeing a study in tandem with the pilot to assess the nutrient loading to the reservoir. Read More.
Member Resources and Benefits
Use WateReuse Connect to Learn and Exchange Ideas with Peers
In this time of social distancing, opportunities for peer-to-peer networking are more important than ever. WateReuse members can use WateReuse Connect to access a member-to-member network of more than 7,000 water recycling practitioners, business leaders, regulators, academics, and technology providers. Recent discussion topics have included innovative partnerships, scheduling of recycled water deliveries, downstream flows, and COVID-19. Post your questions, observations, and unique challenges on our online platform to benefit from the unique experiences of other members across the nation and around the world. It’s simple to use with your member login information. For help accessing WateReuse Connect, please email Member Services.
Conferences and Events
Bulk Registrations Available for 35th Annual WateReuse Virtual Symposium: For Every Five Registrations, Get One Free!
Join us for the 35th Annual WateReuse Virtual Symposium to provide your entire team with high quality professional development and training on all aspects of water reuse. For every five registrations purchased, a free registration will be added – a cost savings of over $500! Take advantage of this team discount and the lack of travel expenses to provide professional development to your core team as well as staff who may be new to water reuse, and save in professional development costs! Launching online September 14-16, 2020, the Annual WateReuse Symposium is the premier conference devoted to water recycling and offers more than 100 hours of technical presentations. Registrants can access the full program for up to 45 days – the virtue of going virtual is that you do not have to miss any content offerings! Register Now!
Stakeholder meeting for pending changes to TCEQ Chapter 217 relating to reclaimed wastewater collection systems. View the advocacy updates article for more details, or visit the Wastewater System Design Criteria Stakeholder Group for the proposed changes and future meeting announcements.
Friday, June 9, 2023
11:00 am to 2:00 pm ET (Remote)
More info TBD