Capitalizing on ACWA Capital Events

  • by Dave Eggerton
  • Jan 17, 2020
  • Voices on Water

Nothing gets your point across quite like making it in person. 

Consider the members of the state legislative and congressional delegations as representatives for your district.  In order to represent you, they need to hear from you. Conveniently, two upcoming ACWA events offer great opportunities to personally engage with state and federal officials.

The first is our annual Washington, D.C. Conference, taking place Feb. 25-27. If you have never attended, or have not joined us for a few years, this year stands out.  From infrastructure to headwaters, there is no shortage of issues to discuss while in the nation’s capital. Tuesday, the first day, features an evening reception, leaving the rest of the day free to schedule meetings with your congressional representatives. 

During the conference, ACWA staff arrange presentations by numerous congressional leaders, along with Administration officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Reclamation. Attendees get the latest information about the current state of the federal government’s activity on California water, from the Corps’ development of forecast informed reservoir operations to ongoing Endangered Species Act reforms and insights into the federal budget.

While the 116th Congress has only just begun its second session, it is already off to the races on a number of issues. Among them, the 2020 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) appears to be one of the most promising upcoming opportunities to make our voices heard clearly and convincingly. The first WRDA hearing was held this past week in the House. 

ACWA members need to work cooperatively to keep WRDA on the radars of our respective California delegation members. Having multiple ACWA members identify WRDA as a priority will build momentum for getting this bill passed with bipartisan support.  Broad support for WRDA can ultimately justify the authorization of more funding for water infrastructure projects, as well as research.

Just one example of how WRDA can help California water agencies is through funding more research and pilot programs focused on atmospheric rivers, the powerful storms that can account from a third to half of annual precipitation within our state. The more we can learn how this weather phenomenon works, the farther out we can forecast them, plan for them, and manage for both flood control and water storage.

The second opportunity to engage with elected officials will be during our ACWA Legislative Symposium on March 12. 

With the release of the Governor’s Draft Water Resilience Portfolio, several proposed climate resiliency bond measures, and the challenges of public safety power shutoff and wildfire threats, the State Legislature will clearly be focused on climate change resiliency this year. The Legislative Symposium will bring together legislative representatives, experts on the ground and administration representatives to hear the latest  news and insights on some pressing issues facing California water managers.

Registration for both the D.C. Conference and Legislative Symposium is now available online through the events page at www.acwa.com. I urge member agencies to send a representative to one or both events. By learning more and making your voice heard, you can strengthen every ACWA member’s ability to serve their communities.

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