News Digest - April 30, 2020

The Supreme Court handed down a decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, in a 6-3 decision focusing on the meaning of the Clean Water Act's regulation of discharge into navigable waters. Justice Steven Breyer delivered the opinion of the court. writing that the "addition of the pollutants through groundwater is the functional equivalent of a direct discharge from the point source into navigable waters." NACWA will be offering a webinar on June 10, discussing the impact of legal and regulatory changes on the clean water industry.

The ranking members of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee released their drafts of the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 and America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2020. The bills, if passed, would reauthorize the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and other grant programs that help fund local water infrastructure improvements.

Drought conditions remain stable in Texas, as rainfall in the Gulf Coast ameliorated some more extreme conditions, while drought developed in the northern Panhandle, roughly 28 percent of the state is abnormally dry or worse.

A vote by the Corpus Christi City Council will authorize city staff to apply for a $222 million TWDB loan to design and construct two seawater desalination plants. The proposed plants would lessen the area's reliance on groundwater for municipal and industrial customers, and future proof the city's water supply.

A study by Rice University Engineering students estimated that Houston could reduce demand for surface water by 28% by utilizing direct potable reuse. Meanwhile, Rice's COVID-19 Research Fund will finance the sampling and analysis of Houston wastewater streams to test for viral load.

This month saw the 50th Annual Earth Day Celebration, as well as the 10th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Experts from Texas A&M discussed the way the spill affected the gulf and Texas.

As of April 30, 2020 - Texas had reported 27,054 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 732 fatalities, a roughly 11% increase from the beginning of the week. 207 of the states 254 counties have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

April saw the WEAT & TACWA hold their first ever Virtual Meetings, with the San Antonio and Southeast Texas sections also conducting business and technical presentations online. Distance learning is the name of the game, and WEAT staff are standing by to facilitate your next presentation.

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