Happy New Year From CASA!
New Year, New Perspective
As we forge ahead into 2021, it is important to take a moment and reflect on the tumultuous year we are leaving behind. To say that 2020 presented all of us with an unprecedented set of challenges would be an understatement. Fortunately there appear to be better days on the horizon. Thanks to an incredible staff and a supportive membership, CASA managed to achieve so much during a period in which so much was lost.

For the first time in several years, CASA developed and adopted a 5-year strategic plan that will serve as a blueprint for what we aim to accomplish through 2025. The plan is the culmination of many months of hard work by staff, consultants and our Board of Directors, and will guide our activities on behalf of the clean water community in the coming years.

CASA also hosted its first-ever virtual conference in August of 2020. Although we haven’t been able to meet in person much of the year, we ended up “seeing” each other more than ever thanks to the rapid adoption of technologies such as Zoom meetings and webinars. We also welcomed two new staff members while three current staff members (including myself!) transitioned to new roles in the organization, all while working remotely.

When the pandemic hit, CASA staff jumped into action to rapidly respond to new information and the needs of our members by developing a range of COVID-19 specific content. These resources include a dedicated COVID-19 webpage, a recurring webinar series with our partners at CWEA, and a variety of other resources and updates for CASA members. I am particularly proud of how the organization responded to these new challenges, but am even prouder of how our member agencies continued to fulfill their mission of protecting public health and the environment each and every day.

As we look at the year ahead, it’s not yet clear when things will return to normal, or what the “new” normal might look like. Regardless of what 2021 brings, one thing is certain: CASA will continue to focus our efforts on enhanced advocacy, communications, and membership engagement. We are also excited to plan for our first in-person August Annual Conference since 2019! I am very fortunate to work with an incredible team here at CASA and am continuously astounded at the work our member agencies do. I am very optimistic about the year ahead and confident that no matter what the future holds, the clean water community will continue to play a pivotal role.

-Adam Link, CASA Executive Director
While we are all glad that 2020 is in the rearview, one thing remains true: We are just as excited as ever to spend another year working together with you! From all of us here at CASA, we wish you a successful and very Happy New Year.
CASA News
CASA Winter Conference: What’s Next in Washington D.C.?
Join us on Thursday, January 28th during the CASA Winter Conference to hear from Radhika Fox, Chief Executive Officer with the US Water Alliance as she provides some insights on the future in Washington D.C.. Radhika is a widely recognized thought leader on complex water issues, from equity in water to investing in our nation’s water infrastructure. With more than 20 years of experience in developing policies, programs, and issue-based advocacy campaigns, Radhika is a sought-after public speaker and has been interviewed by local, regional, and national media outlets on a wide range of water issues. We are excited to have Radhika join us during the Winter Conference and are sure that this will be a session you won’t want to miss!
 
Registration is now open, be sure to secure your spot today!

Set for January 27-28, 2021, CASA’s Winter Conference is sure to be one for the books. The program, developed around a theme of “Moving Forward”, will feature an impressive line-up of speakers and opportunities to connect with your peers, all while participating from the comfort of your home or office. We are bringing back the ever popular small-group roundtable sessions (with two sessions this time!), an incredible keynote speaker on the future of work, and a full suite of Committee Meetings, all live and interactive! Register here, we hope to “see” you in January!
Federal Update
117th Congress Officially Begins
The 117th Congress officially convened on Sunday, January 3 and a number of high-profile events are to take place in the first few weeks of the first session. After major upsets by the Democratic challengers in this week’s run-off Georgia Senate elections, the Senate will be split 50/50, with Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote, giving Democrats control of the Senate. This means that Senate Democrats get to control the legislative agenda and a reshuffling of leadership at the committee will occur as Democrat Ranking Members become Chairs of their respective committees. The flipping of the Senate also means that Democrats control all three branches of government.

In the House, the chamber passed its first major legislative package of the session on Monday when it adopted the rules package (H.Res.8) along a party-line vote of 217-206. H.Res.8 is responsible for establishing the rules that will govern the legislative protocols for the 117th Congress. It was also the first major test to the cohesion of the Democrat Party in the new Congress after the party’s majority suffered losses in the November 2020 elections and saw its majority shrink to a slim 218 seats. H.Res.8 includes three key procedural changes. 
USEPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator to Depart
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, David Ross, will be leaving the Agency this Thursday after serving three years in the position. USEPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced Ross’ departure to Agency staff in a memo earlier this week. The Office of Water is responsible for implementing the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts and protecting and restoring the nation's water resources and aquatic ecosystems. Anna Wildeman will serve as the Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water with Ross' departure. Wildeman currently serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant for the Office of Water. The position of Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water requires Senate confirmation. President-Elect Biden has yet to officially announce a nominee. 
Regulatory Update
SWB Receives Update on Inaugural Volumetric Annual Reports of Wastewater and Recycled Water
On January 5, during their first meeting of 2021, the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) heard an informational item on the results of the first annual volumetric reporting for wastewater and recycled water. The reports were due last summer following the Board’s update of the recycled water policy in December 2018 and were required under Executive Order 2019-0037
 
Board staff reported a 93% response rate (710 out 756) along with the reuse of 686,000 acre-feet of water in 2019 that was compliant with Title 22 standards. During the meeting, Board staff acknowledged this figure did not include the expected acre-feet from several large projects which have been initiated but are not yet operational, and likewise, that the figure was based on different criteria than the prior 2015 report which had included a significant amount of agricultural reuse and reuse for environmental enhancements which did not fall under Title 22 and therefore were excluded.
 
CASA and WateReuse CA both testified at the hearing and plan to collaborate with the Board to attain additional information in the 2020 reports which will provide a fuller picture of the State’s progress in achieving its goals. Notably, Coastkeepers also testified and encouraged the use of permit requirements by Regional Water Boards to reduce ocean discharges and require more reuse. Finally, Board members and staff both recognized the need to eventually revise the current numeric recycled water goals to reflect the findings from the Water Research Foundation study assessing the quantity of water which feasibly can be recycled in California. Please reach out to Jared Voskuhl with questions.
Welcome New Members!
Agency Member

Associate Members

Kahn, Soares & Conway                                                                                    
Member News
In Memoriam
It is with deep regret that we share that CASA Past President Raymond C. Miller, passed away on December 27, 2020. Before retiring, Ray was the general manager of South Coast Water District and executive director of the Southern California Alliance of POTWs. “Ray Miller’s passing was a bittersweet moment for me. Ray was both a mentor and friend,” shared Mike Dunbar, General Manager at Emerald Bay Service District. “Ray introduced me to the water and wastewater community of California. I will never forget the lunch meeting we had in which Ray asked me to be his assistant (and eventually General Manager) of South Coast Water District. He introduced me to CASA which opened up a whole new world. The greatest lesson that Ray imparted to me (and there were many) was “It is a people world”. I will NEVER forget that. All of my contacts and relationships stem from that simple yet profound statement." said Dunbar. Ray, you will be dearly missed. CASA extends their deepest condolences to Ray’s family, friends, and all those whose lives he touched, especially at South Coast Water District and SCAP.
Jan. 27-28, 2021
CASA represents more than 125 local public agencies engaged in the collection, treatment and recycling of Wastewater and biosolids to protect public health and the environment. Our mission is to provide trusted information and advocacy on behalf of California clean water agencies, and to be a leader in sustainability and utilization of renewable resources.