An Exciting Spring Conference Looks Toward the Future by Pamela Tobin May 20, 2022 Voices on Water ACWA’s 2022 Spring Conference & Exhibition stood out as memorable and rewarding for many reasons. ACWA staff organized a diverse collection of programs with expert speakers exploring the latest developments on state and federal water policy with recurring themes of drought response, climate change and innovation. We also highlighted diversity, equity and inclusion and informed members about critical funding opportunities, among other topics. All of this took place within a newly formatted conference that expanded time for networking and provided more opportunities for attendees to connect with one another. If you attended the Women in Water reception than you know the popularity of that event has outgrown its format. Stay tuned for a new set-up next conference. I was especially proud to be able to introduce the membership to ongoing efforts to create a new nonprofit ACWA Foundation devoted to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion within California’s water community, while also launching a statewide public education campaign – Quench California – aimed at increasing awareness of investment in water infrastructure. Both express ACWA’s commitment to building a better future, not only for the water community, but for California as a whole. The ACWA Foundation will create a leadership role for ACWA in fulfilling one of our society’s most pressing needs. Conceptually, it would provide a structure for ACWA to pursue research, education and training by investing in the next generation of water leaders through scholarships supported with tax-deductible, external financial contributions. It could also be a catalyst for leadership training, coaching and mentorships. ACWA is working to create another kind of catalyst through Quench California. This campaign will leverage that underlying public support for a solution that opens the best possible path toward generational climate resiliency. I urge you to visit www.QuenchCA.com to learn more. The campaign will also include opportunities for ACWA member agencies to customize and utilize the campaign locally, which will go far in amplifying its message throughout the state. I am very proud of what we have set out to accomplish during spring conference. More than 1,400 members of the water community joined us in Sacramento for a fully in-person conference. It was an emotional, joyful and immensely gratifying experience to reconnect personally with so many of our colleagues in one place, at one time. I especially want to thank our 36 sponsors, 62 exhibitors and ACWA staff for helping make this successful conference possible. If you attended, please take the time to reply to an emailed post-conference survey. No matter how well we’ve done, we can always do better and we’d love to hear your feedback on the new features. If you could not make it to conference this time, we have plenty of ACWA events lined up for the rest of the year. This includes the ACWA DC 2022 Conference in July and numerous Region Events throughout the year, with the ACWA Fall Conference & Exhibition wrapping up 2022 in Indian Wells. So, stay in touch, and stay involved! .