OWASA Board of Directors Meeting Summary for August 13

OWASA’s Board of Directors met virtually on Thursday, August 13, 2020, and considered an agenda that included an update on OWASA’s response to COVID-19, an update on OWASA resuming standard collection practices, discussion on the Long-Range Water Supply Plan, and a progress update on the onboarding program for OWASA’s new Executive Director.

The Board of Directors is currently meeting virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic Response

The Board received an update on OWASA’s response to COVID-19 and a phased plan for returning to normal operations. OWASA continues to take proactive measures to ensure we provide the community with high-quality and reliable water, wastewater, and reclaimed water services during the COVID-19 pandemic. OWASA field crews will be moving to a new phase of the Return to Normal Operations plan at the end of August that will allow for resumption of most preventative maintenance activities while also maintaining safety measures. We surveyed our employees regarding possible childcare challenges due to remote education and will do the best we can to work with those employees while meeting the essential nature of work.

Standard Collection Practices

The Board received and discussed a presentation on the resumption of standard collection practices. Since March, OWASA has suspended disconnections for non-payment. OWASA plans to resume standard collection practices in late September, in alignment with both the expiration of the governor’s Executive Order and Orange County’s State of Emergency. If the County extends the State of Emergency, the Executive Director will delay our resumption of standard collection practices accordingly.

After this meeting was held, Orange County did extend the State of Emergency through October 31, 2020. More information here.

Long-Range Water Supply Plan

The Board discussed the Long-Range Water Supply Plan (LRWSP), including project history and a summary of supply and demand-management alternatives. The Board authorized staff to proceed to develop a process to modify the Drought Response Operating Protocol (DROP), which the Board will consider at a later date. The DROP constrains OWASA’s ability to access its allocation of water from Jordan Lake. In addition, the Board authorized staff to continue to evaluate alternatives to provide access to OWASA’s Jordan Lake allocation as part of the update of the LRWSP.

Executive Director Onboarding

The Board received a progress update on the onboarding program for the new Executive Director that was approved by the Board on May 14, 2020. The Board selected Todd Taylor to serve as the Executive Director on June 25, 2020.

Next Meeting

The Board will hold its next meeting remotely on Thursday, August 27, 2020, via Microsoft Teams at 6 p.m.; a link will be provided here.

OWASA’s administrative office is closed to the public to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Customers in need of assistance can still contact OWASA from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling (919) 968-4421, emailing customerinquiries@owasa.org, or using the chat function available in the bottom-right corner of the web page. Please allow for additional time for OWASA staff to respond during this time. We appreciate your patience.