2020 Will be Another Exciting Year for Water Industry

  • by Dave Eggerton
  • Dec 20, 2019
  • Voices on Water

Packed with as many challenges as opportunities, 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting year with a mixture of new and ongoing issues within California water.

Perennial issues such as finding resolution on water quality-related challenges in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta could reach a successful conclusion through Voluntary Agreements. Meanwhile, a Jan. 31 deadline for Groundwater Sustainability Plans marks a critical juncture in how, whether and at what cost SGMA will work for our state. And with PFAS regulations, many of our member agencies face a situation where new legislation takes effect and enormously impactful requirements are on the horizon.

This year, ACWA has a new asset in the recently Board-approved five-year Strategic Plan.  Shared with attendees at our 2019 Fall Conference, this plan replaces the previous practice of setting priorities biennially with a newly seated Board. While that served us well through many years, the increasingly complex challenges before us demand an approach that emphasizes a more holistic, longer-term view that connects how we answer immediate challenges with how we ultimately achieve long-term goals.

In achieving that aim, the Strategic Plan is divided into six core elements — Advocacy, Connections, Education, Resources, Organizational Strength and Innovation — all supporting ACWA’s leadership role within the broader California water community.

With advocacy in particular, the Strategic Plan looks at our work within a long-range context. A good example will be our ongoing engagement with the Newsom Administration concerning the Water Resilience Portfolio, a document we have worked hard to influence and will continue to do so until its completion. When finalized, ACWA will make assisting the Administration in implementing the Portfolio a major focus during the next five years, as this document will help guide California water policy through the 21st Century. At the same time, we are refining our advocacy to further address adaptation to climate change, continuing our strong support for using the latest modeling and forecasting technology to optimize existing and future infrastructure for water supply reliability. Another significant advocacy effort in 2020 includes working to achieve a meaningful, new water bond, which could steer significant funding to improve water supply reliability across the state. Throughout, ACWA will continue to highlight why our member agencies are best positioned to provide direction on how to develop a reliable and affordable water supply.

The success of advocacy rests heavily on connections, education and resources, both to our membership and to the public. Recent examples of this include:

  • ACWA’s publishing A Technical framework for Increasing Groundwater Replenishment as part of its ongoing support for members on SGMA.
  • Conducting public outreach to support Voluntary Agreements by launching a website that members can share with the public — www.voluntaryagreements.org — that serves as a hub for easily understood educational materials.
  • Developing outreach materials for PFAS, most recently through a member toolkit that provides answers to questions, on top of a previous fact sheet.
  • Leading a coalition to help inform and ultimately achieve the adoption of SB 200 (Monning), creating the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, providing a durable funding solution for disadvantaged communities without access to safe drinking water that does not impose a new tax on water agencies or their customers.

Most, if not all of these issues, will stay in motion throughout the year, and in the years ahead. The Strategic Plan recognizes that everything we do now must fuel the necessary momentum to effect change beyond this year. In that respect, we are off to a great start.

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