Five Year Strategic Plan Underway by Dave Eggerton Aug 16, 2019 Voices on Water Barely more than half way through, 2019 has already proven itself another exciting year for ACWA members. That has certainly been the case externally with legislation and emerging regulatory activity. But internally, ACWA is undergoing a process equally, if not more exciting through the development of a Strategic Plan for the next five years. The necessity is urgent. If we seriously intend to enhance ACWA’s ability to effect external outcomes, internally we will need a holistic plan for the future of our organization. The Board realized this during the beginning of this year, when it added long-term strategic planning to its list of annual organizational priorities. That effort is now well underway under the leadership of Vice President Steve LaMar and the Board Steering Committee. The result will be a five-year Strategic Plan completed in time for sharing with members during the Fall Conference, Dec. 3-6 in San Diego. A long-term Strategic Plan will replace the previous practice of setting priorities biennially with a newly seated Board. This former approach served us well for many years by aligning the association’s resources and staff productivity with Board priorities, both organizationally and on the policy side. However, it has not necessarily provided a comprehensive plan for the organization’s long-term future, and that is proving a critical need with the accelerating pace and expanding impacts on our industry. In developing this Strategic Plan, we are gathering input from our member agencies, Board members and staff and looking for areas of alignment and agreement. I recently met with every ACWA department to assess exactly what our employees need to build upon successes of the past and best chart our path forward. At its most fundamental level, the plan will include “core elements” that capture the most basic, essential building blocks of all that we do. This spans the strength and vitality of our organization to leadership in advocacy, communications, education and membership services – the engine driving ACWA’s continuing role as the foremost leader in California water resource management. We are also analyzing the results of a recent ACWA Member Survey, the first since 2012. Independently conducted by FM3 Research June 11 through July 8, the survey measured ACWA members’ perceptions of our association’s value and usefulness of its services, from advocacy to communications and event planning. The results reflect positively on our organization and its responsiveness to members, and it will serve as a valuable tool in refining ACWA’s Strategic Plan. Many of the high priority issues of today could look very different tomorrow. To maintain our position as leaders in the development of California water resource management and policy, we need to look past the next two years and into the mid-2020s. The process behind creating ACWA’s Strategic Plan provides an opportunity to focus on being ahead of the curve in all aspects of our business.