WateReuse Members Testify on the Value of Water Reuse Investment Before House Subcommittee
General Managers from two WateReuse Association member utilities shared how their communities are using recycled water to address drought and build resilience at a Congressional hearing last week, “The Status of Drought Conditions Throughout the Western United States,” convened by the U.S. House of Representatives Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee. Mike Markus of Orange County Water District (California) and John Entsminger of the Southern Nevada Water Authority provided expert testimony on how water recycling has helped their respective communities build resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Water recycling was prominently featured throughout the hearing, both in testimony from witnesses and in statements and questions from Members of Congress. Other witnesses, including Elizabeth Klein, Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Interior, and Dan Keppen, Executive Director of the Family Farm Alliance, also discussed the importance of water recycling as a resiliency tool. Klein noted that water reuse is one of the tools that the Biden Administration plans to invest in, including through its upcoming FY 2022 budget request. In response, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) pointed out that the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI-WIIN Water Reuse Grants Program is dramatically underfunded.
Infrastructure Negotiations Continue on the Hill; Bi-Partisan Senate Support for Investment in Water
In continued negotiations, Republican senators released another infrastructure counteroffer to President Biden’s $2.25 trillion investment proposal. The counteroffer increased to $1 trillion from the previously proposed $568 billion package. The initial Republican proposal included $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and $14 billion for water storage, while the Administration’s plan calls for $111 billion for water systems infrastructure, focusing on resilient systems and providing clean, safe water to all communities. Democrats in the Senate have meanwhile been supporting the Administration’s proposal of $111 billion for water, however it is a good signal from Republicans that water is likely to be included in a bipartisan infrastructure package.
Both sides aim to reach a deal in the coming days, though the scope of the potential deal remains murky, as do the potential cost offsets (also known as “pay-fors”). Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said last week that the Senate intends to pass an infrastructure package prior to the August recess, regardless of whether the package is bipartisan. The WateReuse Association continues to work with congressional leaders and champions to advance water reuse policy goals in the legislation
House Subcommittee Chair Introduces Water Resiliency Legislation, includes Water Reuse Investments
Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA), Chairman of the Water Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee has reintroduced a legislative package, the Furthering Underutilized Technologies and Unleashing Responsible Expenditures for Drought Resiliency Act (FUTURE Drought Resiliency Act), which covers a wide range of water policies and programs including water recycling. The bill incorporates a number of bills that have been previously introduced by members of the Subcommittee.
One of the bills included in Congressman Huffman’s legislation is H.R. 1015, the Water Recycling Investment and Improvement Act, which reauthorizes the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI-WIIN Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, and was introduced by long-time water recycling champion Grace Napolitano (D-CA). In addition to the $500 million that would be invested in Title XVI-WIIN through H.R. 1015, Chairman Huffman’s bill establishes a Bureau of Reclamation Infrastructure Fund, which would invest an additional $100 million per year through Title XVI-WIIN. The legislation also provides funding for brine management research and desalination projects through the Bureau of Reclamation.
WRAP Israel Water Reuse Virtual Event; Partnership in Water Reuse
Last week, the Israel Water Reuse Virtual Tour opened with remarks by Israel Ambassador Gilad Erdan commending the partnership among U.S. and Israel federal agencies, and co-hosted by the WateReuse Association. Erdan highlighted the efforts of the National Water Reuse Action Plan and welcomed the opportunity to share Israel’s extensive knowledge on water reuse. Over the three-day event, experts provided insight into Israel’s water policy and regulation, took the audience on virtual tours of decentralized water treatment and the Shafdan Wastewater Treatment Plant, and discussed advancements in agricultural reuse irrigation. A consistent theme that emerged from the event is Israel’s unified commitment to a one water, circular economy approach to water management.
Recordings of all three days can be viewed here.
Senate Committee Advances Radhika Fox’s Nomination to Lead EPA Office of Water
The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee advanced Radhika Fox’s nomination as the U.S EPA Assistant Administrator of the Office of Water with a 14-6 bipartisan vote. The full Senate is expected to vote on final confirmation following Memorial Day recess. WateReuse delivered a letter of support for Fox’s confirmation ahead of the committee vote.
U.S. EPA Adds New PFAS to Database
The U.S. EPA announced the addition of eleven PFAS compounds to the Drinking Water Treatability Database to provide states, tribes, and local communities with increased information for decision making. The database includes 37 PFAS compounds, potential treatment processes to remove them in drinking water, and scientific articles. In addition to the new compounds, the existing bodies of scientific research were updated. Read more.
State Updates and Member Profiles
Welcome New Member!
The WateReuse Association welcomes the following new member:
- Kiawah Island Utility/ SCWU (South Carolina)
CA: Los Angeles and San Diego Mayors Support $1.5 Billion State Investment in Water Reuse
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria sent a joint letter to Governor Gavin Newsom last week in support of the Governor’s Water Resilience Plan and urging an investment of at least $1.5 billion for water reuse projects. Sharing examples of the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in Los Angeles and San Diego’s Pure Water Program, the mayors note that water reuse investments ease pressures on state infrastructure and vulnerable, environmentally sensitive sources of imported water. Read more.
NY: Author, Professor Advocates for Water Reuse to Protect Water Supply
In a recent op-ed, author and State University of New York at Old Westbury professor, Karl Grossman, explains why Suffolk County on New York’s Long Island should invest in more water reuse. Grossman argues that water reuse can be used to protect the potable water supplies in underground aquifers from saltwater intrusion and decrease nitrogen inputs into the marine environment. He cites the existing Riverhead Water Resource Recovery Facility which reuses water onsite and sends water offsite for reuse at a golf course. Read more.
Section Update: WateReuse California Accepting Nominations for Awards of Excellence
The WateReuse California Awards of Excellence recognize agencies, customers, and individuals that have demonstrated exceptional leadership in advancing water recycling in California. Award winners will be recognized during an awards ceremony at the 2021 WateReuse California Annual Conference, September 19-21, in Los Angeles. Award nominations are due Friday, June 4. Read more.
Member Resources and Benefits
Engaging the Public Health Community on Water Reuse? Check out Our Online Resources
Although water reuse is a proven, science-based process that has been used safely in communities around the world for decades, the public is often skeptical when the concept is first introduced into a community. To build acceptance among medical and health professionals, WateReuse has launched the Medical Community Initiative and begun developing resources to support members in engaging with the public health community. Visit our website for videos, articles, and presentations that support engagement with medical professionals. New tools are being developed so check back for updates.
Conferences, Webcasts and Events
Webcast: Digital Platform, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Potable Reuse Projects
June 1, 2021
11 am PT | 2 pm ET (1 hour)
In this webcast, our presenters will introduce how digital platforms including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can be used to improve asset management strategies, operational efficiencies, enhance source control, validate unit process performance, predict product water quality and making sound decisions for assessing suitability of product water for human consumption. Register here.
WRAP Webcast: Multiple Benefits of Stormwater Capture and Reuse Projects
June 9, 2021
11 am PT | 2 pm ET Please join us for the third in a series of web-based events associated with the national Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP) Action Item 3.3., which focuses on opportunities and challenges related to urban stormwater capture and use. Register here.
Webcast: Potable Water Reuse: What Prospects for Europe?
June 24, 2021
8 am PT | 11 am ET (2 hours)
Water Reuse Europe and the WateReuse Association are bringing together speakers from Europe and the U.S. to share their experiences in developing and implementing potable reuse projects with a specific emphasis on regulatory approaches, risk management and communication. This international group of presenters will discuss what is needed to enable wider adoption of potable reuse across Europe’s territories. Register here.
Webcast Series: California State Water Board Direct Potable Reuse Research
Join The Water Research Foundation (WRF) for a free, two-part webcast series that will showcase the research outcomes of WRF’s first California State Water Board Grant to support water reuse research.
Session 1: Pathogens
June 2, 2021
10 am PT | 1 pm ET (2.5 hours)
This webcast will focus on two projects: “Pathogen Monitoring in Untreated Wastewater” (4989) and “Tools to Evaluate Quantitative Microbial Risk and Plant Performance/Reliability” (4951). Register here.
Session 2: Chemicals
June 9, 2021
10 am PT | 1 pm ET (1.5 hours)
This research evaluated the potential for certain chemicals to persist through advanced water treatment systems and options for the detection of chemical peaks. Register here.
Save the Date: 37th Annual WateReuse Symposium in San Antonio, Texas
Mark your calendar for the 37th Annual WateReuse Symposium to be held March 5-9, 2022 at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas. The 2022 Symposium will be our first national conference with an in-person component since 2019! This is a not-to-be missed opportunity to learn about the latest trends in water recycling and network with colleagues in person.
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