Conference News
Millennial Engagement Expert to Keynote CASA Winter Conference
The CASA Winter Conference is around the corner! We are happy to announce our exciting lineup of speakers and panelists. This year’s conference theme, “Connecting to the Future,” will be highlighted by our keynote speaker, consultant and millennial engagement expert, Farah Habad. Farah offers a unique and relevant perspective on how each generation has a unique story to tell that offers valuable insight and perspective. Farah’s keynote will help peel back some of the layers of our collective experiences to better explain the “why” behind the “what” in a style that is both memorable and chock full of actionable takeaways that can be immediately implemented. Farah hails from the San Francisco Bay Area and is a former member of the Melvin B. Tolson/Denzel Washington Forensics Society at Wiley College - the team featured in the 2007 film “The Great Debaters.”

Registration is now open. Please join us at a new location: The Renaissance Indian Wells on January 23-25, 2019.
Legislative Update
Excellent Fiscal Forecast Reported by Legislative Analyst’s Office
The non-partisan LAO, which exists to provide objective analysis of public policy to the Legislature, recently released its annual report outlining California’s fiscal outlook in advance of the 2019-20 legislative and budget season. This report is intended to inform the legislature of revenue expectations in the coming year to guide their policy decisions during the budget deliberation process next Spring. The first sentence in this year’s report reads: “The budget is in remarkably good shape. It is difficult to overstate how good the budget’s condition is in today.” 
Other News
WEF Water Leaders Program Now Accepting Applications
The Water Environment Federation has begun accepting applications for its water leaders program. As the water sector faces challenges from aging infrastructure, climate change, financial constraints and increased demands, professionals who can develop and implement solutions to these issues are needed.

The WEF Water Leadership Institute is designed to encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, and professional commitment from those individuals who will be leading the water sector in the coming decades. All professionals in the water sector, including utility staff, consulting engineers or service providers, are encouraged to apply. Applications must be submitted by Thursday, January 31.
Office of Inspector General Report Looks at USEPA Biosolids Program
The OIG recently concluded an 18-month evaluation of the federal biosolids program and released its report on November 15. The OIG, an independent unit within the United State Environmental Protection Agency, performs audits and investigations to detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse. The report is titled: “EPA Unable to Assess the Impacts of Hundreds of Unregulated Pollutants in Land Applied Biosolids on Human Health and the Environment.” This alarming headline suggests inflammatory intent which is not scientifically supported in the report.

The USEPA does not agree with OIG’s main findings in the report and continues to support the land application of biosolids as a safe and sustainable practice and a beneficial recycling program. CASA and the broader wastewater sector also have significant concerns with the OIG report, specifically statements that appear inaccurate and seemingly biased. CASA has been working proactively with our members as well as with regional and national biosolids and wastewater associations to craft an appropriate response.
PPIC Releases Report Focused on California’s Water
Earlier this month, the Public Policy Institute of California released a new report with several sections focused on California’s Water. While the overall report’s focus is geared more toward drinking water issues, it spotlights several interesting wastewater challenges related to energy, climate change, and rates for services. 

In Case You Missed It
CASA Celebrates Successful Conclusion to NACWA National Clean Water Law Seminar Law 
The 2018 NACWA Clean Water Law Seminar was held in San Diego on November 14-16. Several CASA staff, consultants and member agencies participated in the event. CASA’s Executive Director Bobbi Larson participated in a successful panel covering the most significant Clean Water Act legal developments of the year, including some cases that could have significant impacts on our agencies in years to come. CASA’s Climate Change Program Manager Sarah Deslauriers spoke about actions that could affect municipal liability in the area of climate change adaptation and mitigation. 

Additionally, CASA staff hosted a joint luncheon featuring lively discussion on some uniquely Californian issues including impacts of cannabis legalization and the contours of the public trust doctrine. We look forward to next year’s event! 
Member News 
Welcome New Members!
Agency Member Reporters
Our bi-monthly edition of Connects is our way to keep members informed on the latest and greatest in the world of water. We can only report on what we know. We encourage CASA member agencies to showcase their agency programs and events that help California water as a whole. Sharing your agency’s activities helps us highlights the value of water and wastewater services.  

Please share information about your agency so it can be featured in upcoming issues of Connects by emailing Cheryl Mackelvie
Mark Your Calendar
Save the Date
With the focus on the new congressional landscape, this is a friendly reminder that the CASA Washington D.C. Policy Forum is February 25-27, 2019. The conference will once again take place at the St. Regis.

We have an impressive slate of speakers to discuss how the midterm elections impact key committee leadership, infrastructure and wastewater priorities and what to expect in the new congressional session. Registration now open .  
Jan. 23-25, 2019
Feb. 25-27, 2019
Aug. 21-23, 2019