On July 15, California Water Association (CWA) Executive Director Jack Hawks provided a factual and colorful presentation titled The Wild Wild West – Taking on Mother Nature and More to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) Committee on Water at NARUC’s annual Summer Committee Meetings in Dallas, Texas. Hawks was joined by the Aqua Texas President Bob Laughman in reviewing the challenges facing water companies in the West from Texas to California.
Beginning with an overview of the new hexavalent chromium maximum contaminant level (Cr-6 MCL) standard, effective July 1, and the unrelenting pressures of the drought, Hawks outlined the history behind Cr-6 MCL and the impact on investor-owned water utilities and their customers. He explained how this state regulatory standard emanated from the 2000 movie, Erin Brockovich, starring Julia Roberts. Hawks also reviewed the evolution of the current drought in California, providing facts and figures on contributing factors, in addition to the actions taken by Governor Jerry Brown, the California State Water Resources Control Board and the California Public Utilities Commission. Hawks concluded with the water utilities’ responses to the new emergency drought regulations.