Buckle Up for Another Action-Packed, Productive Year with ACWA by Pamela Tobin Feb 17, 2023 Voices on Water Every year in California water comes packed with challenges, opportunities and surprises, and 2023 will be no different. ACWA is poised to continue delivering positive results for our members. Securing investment for water infrastructure tops a long list in Washington D.C. and here in Sacramento, where the state faces a projected $22.5 billion deficit. ACWA will continue to advocate for continued significant investment in water infrastructure either through the state budget or possibly through a General Obligation Bond. ACWA advocates and a large working group of the State Legislative Committee are already proactively engaged in a possible natural resources/water bond. Building critical water infrastructure also requires improvements to California’s regulatory permitting process. ACWA is sponsoring SB 23 by Senator Caballero, which would improve and streamline the regulatory permitting processes while preserving established environmental protections. This bill would help prepare for water supply reliability in light of climate change. This ACWA-sponsored bill is a top priority this year, and we are encouraging member agencies to join a broad coalition to support this legislation that came out of the State Legislative Committee’s planning process. In 2023, ACWA will expand the reach of the Quench California public education campaign throughout our state with a simple but compelling message. The water that reaches their homes, grows our food and powers California’s economy depends entirely on infrastructure that is aging and not adequate for California’s future with climate change. The campaign clearly communicates infrastructure investment as an obvious solution. The ACWA Foundation, now a fully operational nonprofit organization with an independent Board of Trustees, has started accepting donations and is developing priorities for this year. The foundation will begin work answering a critical need within our industry – helping the recruitment of the next generation of water professionals as a wave of retirements drains experience from the industry. The ACWA Foundation is poised to advance workforce and leadership development in the industry while at the same time promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. By answering a need, we’re fulfilling a vision investing in the next generation of water leaders with an emphasis on attracting a more diverse workforce benefits our industry and the communities we serve. This year will also provide numerous opportunities for members to connect and learn from each other through our Spring and Fall Conferences, the D.C. Conference, the Legislative Symposium, several Region events and other opportunities. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to connect with your peers. ACWA possesses a dynamic power that we demonstrate when we apply collaboration toward achieving results. As always, ACWA member agencies face immense challenges. But we can face that list with confidence going into 2023, because when it comes to actions speaking louder than words, ACWA and its members have what it takes and know how to work toward a secure water future for California.