Following California Governor Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place order in response to the COVID-19 emergency, California’s State Water Resources Control Board and the nine California Regional Water Quality Control Boards confirmed this week that they consider compliance with orders, permits and regulations to be an “essential function” under the order. The announcement does clarify that there is a mechanism for regulated entities to seek specific relief when a Water Board order or requirement cannot be timely met because it is inconsistent with governmental directives relating to COVID-19. The regulated entity must notify the applicable Water Board via email at the provided email addresses and include:
- the specific Water Board order, regulation, permit, or other requirement that cannot be timely met,
- the inconsistent COVID-19 directive or guideline,
- an explanation of why the responsible entity cannot timely meet the Water Board order or requirement, and
- any action that the entity will take in lieu of complying with the specific Water Board order or requirement.
The Water Board has committed that its staff will do their best to respond within 24-48 hours. The full notice is available on the Water Board’s COVID-19 update page: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/resources/covid-19_updates/.