Governor Issues Statewide Order to Minimize Non-Essential Activity
By Sarah Kirkle, TWCA
On Tuesday, Governor Abbott ordered Texans to minimize activity outside of their homes, except when needed to provide or obtain essential services. The order, which extends through April 30, stops short of a statewide shelter-in-place, but provided for criminal punishment for not adhering to the order’s guidelines.
The order defines “essential services” as those listed in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 2.0 but allows the Texas Department of Emergency Management to add to this list. Specific to water, this Guidance broadly encompasses employees needed to operate drinking water and wastewater or drainage infrastructure, including the following:
• Operational staff at water authorities.
• Operational staff at community water systems.
• Operational staff at wastewater treatment facilities.
• Workers repairing water and wastewater conveyances and performing required sampling or monitoring, including field staff.
• Operational staff for water distribution and testing.
• Operational staff at wastewater collection facilities.
• Operational staff and technical support for SCADA Control systems.
• Chemical and equipment suppliers to water and wastewater systems and personnel protection.
• Workers who maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting water and wastewater operations.