Senate Advances WateReuse Association Priorities with Near Unanimous Vote
U.S. EPA Announces $6.5 billion for Water Infrastructure Projects
For fiscal year 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $6.5 billion in credit through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and the State infrastructure financing authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program. Eligible projects include water recycling, brackish or seawater desalination, managed aquifer recharge, or a project providing alternative water supplies to reduce aquifer depletion. Additionally, projects that prevent, reduce, or mitigate the effects of droughts are eligible. Letters of interest must be submitted by July 23, 2021 for WIFIA borrowers and June 25, 2021 for SWIFIA. See Notice of Funding Availability.
EPA Office of Water Leads New Council on PFAS
During his appearance at the virtual Water Week Summit, U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the creation of an “EPA Council on PFAS” to address the potential risk caused by the chemicals and to expand on EPA’s current work on the topic. The council will be co-chaired by Radhika Fox, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of Water and Deb Szaro, New England Acting Regional Administrator. Senior EPA career officials will make up the council and build upon the 2019 EPA PFAS Action Plan.
WRAP Engagement Opportunity: Join Israel Water Reuse Virtual Tour May 25-27
Join us to learn about Israel’s water reuse technology and policy approaches as part of a knowledge sharing partnership between the US and Israel. Israel has accomplished extensive infrastructure, regulatory, and institutional reform to recycle over 85 percent of its wastewater for beneficial uses as a solution to extreme water stress. Register here.
This event fulfills Action 11.1 in the National Water Reuse Action Plan, “Facilitate U.S.-Israel Collaboration on Water Reuse.” The tour will be presented in three sessions, highlighting applications relevant to the US perspective:
- Session 1: Policy and Regulation of Water Reuse in Israel
Tuesday, May 25 from 10 AM to 12 PM EDT
- Session 2: Israel’s Approach to Water Reuse Implementation, Technology, and Mechanisms
Wednesday, May 26 from 10 AM to 12 PM EDT
- Session 3: Increasing Israel’s Agricultural Irrigation Efficiency through Recycled Water
Thursday, May 27 from 10 AM to 12 PM EDT
This event is hosted by the Israeli Ministry for Environmental Protection, the Economic & Trade Mission at the Embassy of Israel, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with the Israel Water Authority, Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Israel Ministry of Health, WaterEdge.IL, WateReuse Association, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Water Week 2021 Highlights
The water sector joined as one voice last week to elevate water as a national priority. In celebration of Water Week 2021, water leaders met with their congressional delegations, participated in events, and heard from government officials on the necessity to build back better by investing in water infrastructure, including water reuse. The WateReuse Association thanks all Association members who participated in this year’s virtual Water Week.
Water Week Op-Ed: How Do You Create Resilient Communities? Invest in Water Reuse
To truly help America Build Back Better and ensure jobs creation, investment in water recycling is essential, according to a Water Week Op-Ed published in WaterWorld. WateReuse President Gilbert Trejo of El Paso Water and Executive Director Patricia Sinicropi urged Congress to invest in water reuse to not only help communities rebound from the pandemic, but also to provide them with the tools to build resilience to drought, flooding, and other impacts of climate change. Read more.
Top Agency Officials and Leaders in Water Reuse Mark One Year Anniversary of National Water Reuse Action Plan
The story of the Water Reuse Action Plan’s first year of implementation is one of incredible dedication and determination by a growing community of over 100 different organizations. Last week, over 700 people signed up to participate in Resilience through Collaboration: First Year Highlights and Future Directions of the National Water Reuse Action Plan, a webcast featuring reflections of the past year and insight into the future of water reuse. Leaders from the U.S. EPA, Department of Energy, and other agencies joined to re-commit to the collaborative plan. Felicia Marcus, William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Water in the West Program and a WateReuse Board member, provided keynote remarks noting that this is “water reuse’s moment.” Dr. Sharon Nappier, EPA National Program Leader for Water Reuse, previewed the newly released National Water Reuse Action Plan: Update on Collaborative Progress and the successes of the last year, including the addition of 19 new collaborating organizations and 7 new WRAP actions.
EPA and Members of Congress Join Water Week Policy Zoom-In
The Water Week Policy Zoom-In served as an opportunity for the water sector to hear directly from key EPA officials and Members of Congress on the important regulatory and legislative water policies they are working on now and in the years ahead. U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan emphasized climate resiliency during his remarks and announced new funding under WIFIA, as well as the formation of an EPA council on PFAS. Regan also discussed the Administration’s commitment to eliminate lead pipes and service lines. Radhika Fox, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of Water, noted that now is “water’s time in the spotlight” and encouraged the water sector to engage with EPA. The moderator, Angela Licata, Deputy Commissioner of New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and EPA’s Dr. Sharon Nappier, both highlighted the importance of water reuse and recycling’s role in building resiliency. The webinar was hosted jointly by this year’s Water Week Water Association Partners.
State Updates and Member Profiles
Welcome New Member!
The WateReuse Association welcomes the following new member:
- Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (Wisconsin)
Member Spotlight: Bahman Sheikh Scholarship Reaches Permanent Endowment
A UC Davis scholarship to honor the memory of water reuse pioneer Dr. Bahman Sheikh is now permanently endowed, thanks to generous donations from friends and colleagues. The WateReuse Association and WateReuse California established the scholarship in October 2020 with an initial gift of $10,000. To date, the fund has received over $60,000 in donations to support UC Davis students pursuing a degree focused on water resources management, including water recycling. Dr. Sheikh was a lifetime honorary member of the Association. To contribute to the scholarship fund, click here.
CA: State Senate Budget Proposal Includes $200 Million for Recycled Water
Last week, the California Senate released a $3.41 billion proposal on “Drought, Safe Drinking Water, Water Supply Reliability, and Ratepayer Assistance,” which includes $200 million to the State Water Resources Control Board for competitive grants for projects related to water reuse and recycling. WateReuse California has urged the Senate, Assembly and Administration for water recycling funding as part of climate bond discussions and in discussions concerning this drought relief package. The Senate proposal includes a mix of one-time federal funds, one time state general funds, and some appropriation from Prop. 1 and Prop. 68. The funding is intended for projects that can be immediately implemented.
Member Spotlight: Eastern Municipal Water District Names New General manager
Eastern Municipal Water District’s (EMWD) Board of directors selected Joe Mouawad as the new general manager. Mouawad brings over 30 years of water and wastewater experience and 15 years of internal experience working at EMWD in his new role. EMWD’s previous general manager, Paul Jones, is retiring after 10 years in the position. WateReuse congratulates Joe Mouawad on his new role and thanks Paul Jones for his excellent service. Read more.
CA: Recycled Water for Drinking Water is Essential for Water Supply Reliability
The innovation of Orange County Water District (OCWD) is showcased in a recent article about California’s move toward more potable reuse. OCWD’s General Manager Mike Markus discussed the key role of water recycling in California’s water future in the face of climate change noting, “we can’t afford to use water once and throw it away.” While OCWD was a pioneer in large-scale potable reuse, many other communities across the state are exploring purifying recycled water to drinking water standards. The State Water Board recently released draft criteria for direct potable reuse, ushering in a new approach to creating drinking water in the state. Read more.
Member Engagement Opportunity
Get Engaged: Join the WateReuse Industrial and Commercial Reuse Committee; First Meeting May 4
The WateReuse Association has established a new Industrial and Commercial Reuse Committee, an opportunity for members to engage on high-priority areas and network with colleagues. The committee will convene quarterly meetings led by Ken Martins (co-chair) of Stantec and Wayne Young (co-chair) of JEA. The committee is holding the first meeting on Tuesday, May 4 at 2:00-3:00 pm EDT (11:00-12:00 pm PDT). Committee membership is open to any employee of a member organization. If you are interested in joining a committee, please email Aliza Furneaux (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more.
Conferences, Webcasts and Events
Call for Presentations: 2021 WateReuse California Annual Conference
WateReuse California is accepting proposals for presentations at its 2021 Annual Conference taking place September 19-21 in Los Angeles and virtually. To be considered for a technical presentation, submit a presentation proposal by May 14, 2021. Presenters will be notified by July 2, 2021 if their proposal has been selected. Read more.
Webcast: Water Reuse in Bioenergy Production – A Pathway to Conservation and Resiliency
May 12, 2021
11 am PT | 2 pm ET (1 hour)
This webcast presents findings from an Argonne National Laboratory analyses of potential recycled water use to produce biofuels from conventional crops and algae and generate power by incorporating technology, climate, and geospatial-temporal components. Findings suggest a significant potential of producing advanced biofuel while doubling the amount of recycled water in use nationally. Register here.
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 all facets of operating a water recycling system, including asset management strategies, operational efficiencies, enhance source control, validate unit process performance, predict product water quality and make sound decisions for assessing suitability of product water for human consumption. Register here.
NWRI Webcast: Implementation of Direct Potable Reuse: A Guide for California Utilities
May 5, 2021
1 pm am PT | 4 pm ET (1.25 hours)
The Direct Potable Reuse Coalition and National Water Research Institute will present a webinar to celebrate the publication of Implementation of Direct Potable Reuse: A Guide for California Utilities. This guide presents the collective vision of five utilities that are considering direct potable reuse projects, combined with the consensus findings of a panel of NWRI’s expert authors. A link to the webinar is available on the NWRI website.
11 am PT | 2 pm ET (1 hour)
WateReuse Members: Free; Others: $49
The Four Corners region includes the arid western states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. These four states have several common challenges to providing reliable water supplies including: rapid population growth, severe long term drought conditions, and dwindling or overallocated natural water sources. Indirect potable reuse is currently being practiced in these states, often through managed groundwater replenishment or incidental means. Is engineered potable reuse the next step to building safe, reliable, and resilient water resource portfolios?
While water utilities in the Four Corners states are taking steps toward direct potable reuse (DPR), each of these states face different implementation challenges. This panel discussion delves into the progress and issues regarding DPR in the region.
- Brian Biesemeyer CITY OF SCOTTSDALE, AZ
- Robert Fowlie REPRESENTING THE VILLAGE OF CLOUDCROFT, NM
- Steve Gallegos CITY OF RIO RANCHO, NM
- Raymond Garrison CITY OF SOUTH JORDAN, UT
- Tyson Ingles CO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
- Sarah Page UTAH DIVISION OF DRINKING WATER
- Austa Parker BROWN AND CALDWELL
- Javier Setovich CITY OF GOODYEAR, AZ
- Katie Vanyo BROWN AND CALDWELL
- Matt Benak, TOWN OF CASTLE ROCK, CO
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11 am ET | 8 am PT (1 hour)
WateReuse Members and Florida Water Reuse Week Registrants: Free; Others: $49
Registrants for Florida Water Reuse Week will receive a discount code for free webcast registration
Florida reuses 34 percent of its wastewater compared to the national average of about 7 percent. A recent statewide survey showed that 75 percent of Floridians are familiar with the concept of using reclaimed water for irrigation, industrial uses, and other non-drinking purposes. However, as the state is undergoing record-setting growth and rulemaking for direct potable reuse, additional education and outreach is needed to gain public acceptance. Water professionals and utilities from across the state are working collaboratively through WateReuse Florida to develop and implement consistent messaging on how reuse will safely supply Florida’s future. As Florida celebrates Water Reuse Week May 15-21, join us to hear about the latest education and outreach efforts happening to support traditional and potable reuse at the local and state level.
- Robyn Felix, Communications & Board Services Bureau Chief, Southwest Florida Water Management District
- Tamara Richardson, P.E., Director of Polk County Utilities
Shea Dunifon, Education Coordinator, Pinellas County Utilities, Florida
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