Collaborative Approach on Executive Order Echoed at Conference

  • by Dave Eggerton
  • May 29, 2019
  • Voices on Water

What a great conference we enjoyed earlier this month in Monterey. If you attended, you were part of an energized community of water leaders eager to listen, learn and share viewpoints on what lies ahead of us in 2019. 

It was especially an honor to host four of California’s water leaders from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Administration as our keynote speakers. Over breakfasts and luncheons, we received a very informative inside look into what will drive much of the discussion in California water during the year – Gov. Newsom’s April 29 executive order on developing a Water Resilience Portfolio.

The conference opened with State Water Resources Control Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel and California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld delivering keynote addresses. The following day, we were joined by California’s Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot. Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth and I also sat down for a discussion about water issues at Friday’s breakfast. 

I was very encouraged to hear Director Nemeth describe the water community and ACWA membership as “instrumental” to building the Water Resilience Portfolio. But she wasn’t the only decision maker expressing that belief during the conference. Blumenfeld repeatedly called for collaboration while speaking at Wednesday’s luncheon, and similar support for engaging with water agencies was voiced by Esquivel and Crowfoot.

Overall, I remain encouraged that our colleagues in the Newsom Administration value collaboration. After all, in creating a Water Resilience Portfolio, they will build upon the California Water Action Plan, a policy framework that ACWA fundamentally helped shape through our development of ACWA’s Statewide Water Action Plan. ACWA is already talking with the administration about the portfolio and plans on collaborating with the assigned state agencies and departments.

As the membership of ACWA knows probably better than anyone, empowering water resource management at the local level is essential to achieving greater water resiliency for our state’s future. ACWA will support this fundamental principle in candid conversations around the development of the portfolio. The governor has called for outreach to water agencies, and I was pleased to hear commitment to collaboration repeated at our conference by the top water officials in his administration.  

ACWA members are experts on every aspect of water management in California. Our members possess an abundance of innovative ideas and experience in ensuring water reliability for their customers. We look forward to bringing that expertise to the table in the development of the portfolio.

It’s early in the process, and with so few details on how the executive order will be fulfilled, it’s impossible to say how the end result will impact water agencies. Hopefully, through open engagement between the state and local agencies, we can successfully help plan for a reliable water supply for California’s future.

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