Greetings, and Farewell, From Your Nation’s Capital

  • by David Reynolds
  • Nov 17, 2023
  • Voices on Water

Packing and preparing for our upcoming Fall Conference feels a lot different this time. As always, I’m excited and looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new members of the ACWA community. But it will be my last conference, at least in my official capacity as your Director of Federal Relations, the position I’ve held since 1993. 

After 30 incredibly fulfilling years, I’ve decided to retire.

The decision was a difficult one for many reasons. As many of us know, working in California water comes with opportunities to help make history. How we shape water policy today directly affects the quality of life we leave behind for the next generation. It’s challenging, rewarding and exciting work.

However, the more difficult part of my decision to retire is also why I’ve stayed with ACWA since 1993. Working with you, the people behind our member agencies, has kept me inspired and made the ACWA community an extended family. It’s been a tremendous honor to represent your interests in our nation’s capital.

At one time or another, I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of working with so many of you. My team and I have welcomed you to our annual D.C. Conferences, collaborated on policy through the Federal Affairs Committee and personally met during ACWA conferences. One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve enjoyed over the years, especially during our D.C. Conferences, is helping ACWA members establish relationships with elected officials in Congress and within federal agencies.

I especially want to express my appreciation to the many chairs of the Federal Affairs Committee I’ve worked with over the years, several of them also having served as ACWA President. This list includes Rex Pursell, David Orth, Randy Fiorini, Glen Peterson, Greg Zlotnick, John Coleman, Linda Ackerman, Randy Record, Steve LaMar, G. Patrick O’Dowd, and our current Committee Chair Jim Peifer, as well as Dave Eggerton, our current Executive Director. 

Looking back, we’ve tackled more than our fair share of tough issues. I arrived at ACWA during implementation of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, which presented significant challenges to our water community. A few years later, Bay-Delta policy was front and center with CALFED. Victories have included the Invest in the West campaign that saw $1 billion in annual water funding for the Bureau of Reclamation. More recently, we worked together to help secure passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Right now, we’re engaged with our members on PFAS, one of many ongoing issues. And this is only a very short list.

ACWA East may be on the ground in D.C., but it is our members’ constant willingness to engage with elected officials and regulatory agencies that delivers results. 

Looking back, I started at ACWA when we were moving toward utilizing infrastructure to improve the environment along with diversifying our water supplies. Today, we need to figure out how to bend federal policy toward preparing for climate change and further infrastructure investment. Our community has worked well together to succeed during the past 30 years, but there are major challenges shaping up on the horizon.

I’m confident we’ll meet those challenges the same way we always have, through a commitment to collaboration and the mutual respect we have for each other throughout the ACWA community. I thank everyone in the ACWA community for your guidance and an amazing career.

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