ACWA 2017 Spring Conference & Exhibition Kicks Off in Monterey

MONTEREY - ACWA’s 2017 Spring Conference & Exhibition kicked off in Monterey today with key leaders in the water industry exploring issues ranging from progress in the Bay-Delta to emergency management at Oroville Dam.

Online registration is closed, but onsite registration is available.

The conference, themed “One Water, One Future,” runs through May 12 and explores California’s shared vision – and challenges – regarding the state’s water future.

At the opening breakfast, Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20) spoke of the importance of people working together in the water arena.

"Our attitude toward water has lead to innovation...," said Panetta. "We need people to be at the table. I appreciate groups like ACWA that bring people together." 

ACWA President Kathleen Tiegs welcomed conference attendees at the breakfast and remarked that in large part it was “the water managers gathered in the room that allowed our state to survive – and indeed thrive” throughout the five-year drought and recent unprecedented rains.

“But more work needs to be done,” said Tiegs. “We must continue to focus on bolstering our water infrastructure and looking for collaborative, comprehensive solutions to our water challenges. We can do it!!”

Delta Stewardship Council Chair Randy Fiorini delivered the morning keynote address and brought attendees up to speed on the endeavors of the DSC, which is charged with ensuring that the coequal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem health are met in the Delta.

"These are logical and worthy goals. They're also often in conflict with each other," said Fiorini, adding that the job of the DSC is often "devilishly wicked," but the DSC works diligently to meet those goals.

William Croyle, acting director of the California Department of Water Resources, delivered the keynote address at the today's luncheon, where he described the emergency response to the spillway erosion at Oroville Dam. Croyle and his team at DWR worked with the Butte County Sheriff’s office and other local and state entities to launch an all-out emergency response to protect the citizens in possible harm’s way, and to trouble-shoot efforts to ensure the dam’s safety.

Croyle said the situation at Oroville dam "has changed the conversation on water infrastructure" on the local, state, and national levels, highlighting the importance of infrastructure. 

He said this year's historically wet winter sent "an amazing amount of water through the system" and resulted in strain on the dam and the need to release a huge amount of water from Lake Oroville. After the spillways were damaged, officials decided to call for an evacuation as a precaution.

Croyle stressed that the safety improvements made at the dam since the emergency and the monitoring being done has made the situation safe. He said DWR is working to have the spillways fully operational by Nov. 1.

"The dam is safe. It is highly monitored and being watched very closely," he added.

ACWA also presented its 2017 Excellence in Water Leadership Award to Byron-Bethany Irrigation District for its bold actions in defending the water rights in the farming communities they serve.

San Diego County Water Authority also was honored with the 2017 Clair A. Hill Agency Award for its Carlsbad Desalination Program.

With over 80 meeting and program sessions, ACWA’s Spring Conference offers those in the water industry a chance to drill down into the regulatory, environmental and political issues that shape our industry. Conference attendees will be able to look at these contemporary water issues from a local, statewide, and federal perspective so they may become even better water managers. The conference also offers continuing education credits in the legal, energy, financial, and drinking water issue areas for professionals seeking contact hours.

Program sessions look at issues ranging from water storage to small hydro to groundwater rights.

More information is here.