Coronavirus Updates for the Water Sector

Nossaman LLP

As the situation concerning COVID-19 continues to evolve, we wanted to be sure you were aware of several recent developments related to the water sector in California.

First, on March 12, 2020, in light of public health concerns due to COVID-19, Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order suspending certain Brown Act rules.  Among other items, the Order allows local and state legislative bodies to hold public meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically. 

The Order provides:  “All requirements in both the Bagley-Keene Act and the Brown Act expressly or impliedly requiring the physical presence of members, the clerk or other personnel of the body, or of the public as a condition of participation in a quorum for a public meeting are hereby waived.”

Agencies must still provide advance notice of each public meeting as otherwise prescribed by law.  Agencies must also notice at least one publicly accessible location from which members of the public shall have the right to observe the public meeting and offer public comment (including rights of access consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act).

The full Executive Order can be found here.

Second, on March 11, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released guidance on the coronavirus and the U.S. drinking and waste water systems.  According to the EPA, “Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low. Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual.”  The EPA also continues coordinating with federal partners including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus guidance. To view the full report, please click here.

Nossaman continues to monitor COVID-19 developments affecting our clients.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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