Hello, Public Water Systems (PWSs), Partners, Stakeholders, and Interested Parties: Developments in facing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis continue at a rapid pace. We understand and are in this with all of you working to assure the continued provision of potable water. Below are a few items that need your attention and handling:
NEW WEBPAGE - In effort to better handle the dissemination and collection of critical information, the State Water Board has established a webpage focused for our public water systems (PWS Tab) and the communities we all serve (Communities Tab) called “COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS AND AFFECTED COMMUNITIES”. We will place important information and updates as developments continue, including the guidance to PWS – “Public Water System COVID-19 Considerations”. The webpage can be found here - https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/covid-19.html.
INCIDENT ACTION CHECKLIST - The USEPA developed a great tool and guidance for PWSs to consider in facing the challenges of Pandemic incidents, including the current COVID-19. The Incident Action Checklist (IAC) - Pandemic Incidents was mentioned and attached in a State Water Board transmittal to PWS on April 2, 2020. The IAC provides activities the water sector (drinking water and wastewater systems) can consider to prepare for, respond to and recover from a pandemic crisis. It is one out of the 14 "rip & run" style checklists to help with emergency preparedness, response and recovery activities for incidents such as pandemic, power outage, cyber, floods, and wildfires. The IACs are found on the USEPA webpage here -https://www.epa.gov/waterutilityresponse/incident-action-checklists-water-utilities. The USEPA conducted a webinar training on their Incident Action Checklist - Pandemic Incidents on April 7, 2020. Understandably, with the current COVID-19 crisis, interest was overwhelming such that their webinar platform could not accommodate all. It was mentioned that a recording of the webinar was made for later playback and review and the link to the recording will be mentioned once available. The USEPA offers much guidance and resources to consider in meeting the challenges of COVID-19 that can be found here - https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus.
RESTRICTIONS ON SHUTOFFS - EXECUTIVE ORDER N-42-20 - Building on efforts to provide support for residents during the statewide State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Newsom suspended public water systems’ ability to disconnect water service to residences and critical infrastructure sector small businesses due to nonpayment. On April 2, 2020, Executive Order N-42-20 was issued, building on the steps already taken by the California Public Utilities Commission for private water systems and more than 100 public water systems within the state that have adopted their own policies for not shutting off water service to residents facing financial distress during the health emergency. In addition to a prohibition on residential and critical infrastructure sector small business water shutoffs, the Executive Order requires water systems to restore service to residences that were shut off for non-payment after the March 4, 2020, emergency proclamation. The Executive Order also directs the State Water Board to identify ways to support water systems and their customers throughout the crisis. To implement this Executive Order, the State Water Board established a website for customers to report any water shutoffs or reconnection issues, the link is located in the Communities Tab of the new PWSs/Communities COVID-19 website. Also included is a link to some frequently asked questions on water shutoffs that respond to customer and utility questions.
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