Prop. 218, ESA Issues Lead Discussion at Regions 5 and 8 Event

Regions 5 and 8 hosted a joint two-day program Sept. 9-10 in Santa Barbara to educate attendees and discuss the many challenges of Proposition 218 and ESA.  

The event started with a reception with the City of Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider welcoming attendees and United Water Conservation District’s General Manager Mike Solomon giving an in-depth overview of how Prop. 218 and ESA regulations have directly impacted his district and the steps they have taken to comply with such regulations.

At the next day’s program, the first panel described the processes created by Prop. 218. The panel included, Jim Ciampa, attorney, Lagerlof, Senecal, Gosney & Kruse; Bob Bosso, attorney, Bosso Williams, Corp.; and Timothy Quinn, executive director, ACWA. Bosso and Ciampa offered an historical overview of why Prop. 218 exists today and Quinn complemented their presentations by discussing how agencies must be innovative with the role of water financing.

The second panel addressed Prop. 218 case studies where agencies who have gone through the process and what they learned from it. Mike Colantuono, attorney, Colantuono & Levin; Gordon Dexter, president, Palmdale Water District; and Arden Wallum, general manager, Mission Springs Water District, all discussed their own experiences with reaching out to the public during rate increases, the detailed process of notices and hearings and the outcome for each of their agencies.

Jeff Reinhardt, public affairs and communications manager, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District was the keynote speaker at lunch. Reinhardt gave a presentation on educating the public using ACWA’s Value of Water tools. Reinhardt urged ACWA members to position themselves as their community’s water experts and be available to the public to help them understand the true costs of providing water.

The final panel shifted gears from Prop. 218 and discussed the Endangered Species Act and how the regulations set forth under the act must be complied with by water districts. Kate Rees, executive director, Cachuma Conservation Release Board, and Debbie Drezner, senior environmental specialist, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, served as panelists and identified key projects that are going through compliance with National Marine Fisheries Service to protect local marine life.

Finally, we’d like to thank the event sponsors, Lagerlof, Senecal, Gosney & Kruse, LLP and Newhall County Water District.  

You can learn more about this event and download the power point presentations at www.acwa.comor click here.