Secret to Success is Teamwork

  • by Timothy Quinn
  • Dec 15, 2017
  • Voices on Water

At the Fall Conference & Exhibition in Anaheim, I presented an overview of ACWA’s impressive list of accomplishments during 2017, as guided by the Board of Directors’ Strategic Plan Goals. In addition to highlighting what we did, I focused on how we succeeded this year on many fronts.

As you know, I was away from the association for a few months earlier this year for health reasons. In the months prior to my leave, and as I read emails from home to stay in the loop during my leave, I was continually impressed by the way my staff collaborated and stepped up to ensure members’ needs were met.

Under the leadership of Deputy Executive Directors Jennifer Persike and Cindy Tuck, in collaboration with highly engaged member agencies, we made progress on many fronts. On the policy front, the ACWA Board’s policy statement on Bay-Delta flows rallied the water industry around good policy, eventually securing formal statements of support from a whopping 147 local public water supply agencies. In cooperation with the project proponents seeking Proposition 1 funds for storage projects, we published an influential storage integration study. In 2018, the California Water Commission will conditionally allocate $2.7 billion to successful storage projects, eventually adding millions of acre-feet of storage capacity to our water management system.

ACWA members and others also made considerable progress implementing SGMA with more than 99% of high-and-medium priority basins creating Groundwater Sustainability Agencies. At higher elevations, ACWA staff in cooperation with member agencies made progress in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C. on funding and policy to promote healthier forests.

On the organizational front, the Ag Initiative successfully concluded with the creation of the Agriculture Committee; President Kathleen Tiegs visited with more than 230 member agencies through the Meet the President Initiative; ACWA staff worked with many member agencies on strategies to attract a new generation to the California water industry; and we completely revamped the ACWA website.

If things we supported tended to move forward in 2017, initiatives that we opposed were brought to at least a temporary halt. We stopped SB 623 in 2017 through aggressive advocacy and external affairs efforts, but will have to brace for further discussion of the proposed drinking water tax in 2018. We also provided valuable feedback to condense eight proposed long-term conservation bills into two, which were carried over to the new Legislative year marking another legislative success. For a more comprehensive summary of this year’s accomplishments, please read the December issue of ACWA News or watch our video.

Looking at these accomplishments, I can’t overstate how proud I am of the teamwork of our staff working with members. The ACWA team is an amazing group of people who work every day to advocate, educate, coordinate and communicate on your behalf in Sacramento and Washington D.C.

ACWA has a unique business model for an association. Our members are extremely active, which adds to ACWA’s capacity, clout and success.

We had a tremendously successful year working cooperatively and collaboratively with members to advocate for comprehensive statewide solutions and sensible long-term policies. I have no doubt that under the leadership of the new ACWA Board of Directors, ACWA and its members will use this momentum to deal with the challenges we face in 2018.

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