Support for Water Needs During Pandemic Forges Unprecedented Coalition in Washington by Dave Eggerton Jun 19, 2020 Voices on Water Weathering the fiscal crisis currently affecting many ACWA member agencies and their counterparts nationwide will depend heavily on federal relief, stimulus funding and infrastructure investment. ACWA is focusing its federal advocacy efforts toward securing this funding through collaboration with national industry associations, as well as within a broad and exceptionally diverse coalition of California water interests. The sheer scale of this advocacy effort should give cause for hope among our member agencies. It also presents a very important opportunity to engage your representatives. ACWA recently distributed an Outreach Alert urging member agencies to send a third wave of emails to their congressional representatives focused on infrastructure spending. These email campaigns play a critical role in strengthening ACWA’s advocacy on the ground, which includes ongoing engagement with congressional staff as part of a comprehensive effort guided by ACWA’s Infrastructure Funding Workgroup, formed through our Federal Affairs Committee and led by Committee Chair Patrick O’Dowd. If your agency has not participated in one of these email campaigns, I strongly encourage you to consider it now. ACWA maintains a robust voice in Washington D.C. through its office in the nation’s capital; however, the more agencies that reach out to members of Congress, the higher the volume gets turned up on that voice. I cannot remember a more critical time for united action than during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. Members can find background, template email letters and congressional email addresses on Outreach Alerts posted on www.acwa.com. As I mentioned earlier, ACWA belongs to a diverse coalition of California water interests supporting federal funding for water needs during the pandemic. This coalition not only significantly adds weight to our advocacy, but also represents a notable achievement in collaborative work. On May 12, this coalition submitted a letter to Congressional leadership signed by 59 organizations. This included ACWA member agencies, but also organizations in the environmental justice and environmental communities, such as the Community Water Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council. To fully appreciate the sheer scope and diversity behind this coalition, you can view the letter on our website’s comment letter page under resources. The letter itself was only the beginning. Its creation laid the foundation for regular contact among coalition members, an additional coordinated effort to engage members of Congress and their staff along with placement of newspaper opinion-editorial columns. The word “collaboration” is a popular one within the ACWA community. However, this is what it looks like outside the dictionary, and this is why collaboration remains a central call to action in everything we do and represent as an association. We still have a tough road ahead of us in Washington, but we are far from alone in terms of allies. If you have not already, visit www.acwa.com and find the tools necessary to add your member agency’s voice to ACWA advocacy efforts on federal COVID-19 support.