Upcoming Conference One for the Screen, and for the History Books by Dave Eggerton Jul 17, 2020 Voices on Water When the COVID-19 pandemic is finally behind us, everyone will have stories to share about what life was like during this surreal suspension of everyday life. Many of us will also share stories about innovation, about overcoming historic challenges in providing the most essential of services to our communities. Here at ACWA, our community is you, the employees and leaders at member agencies throughout California. One of our jobs is uniting ACWA members behind a voice that effectively influences policy in Sacramento and Washington D.C. to benefit our customers. Vital to our success is constantly giving our members opportunities to share knowledge, express opinions and interact with one another. ACWA conferences embody this role, but how can we fulfill that role when gathering in person is out of the question? You can find out July 29 and 30 during the ACWA 2020 Virtual Conference & Exhibition. By registering, you will participate in a milestone achievement in our association’s 110-year history. The pandemic may have forced us apart in one sense, but does not eliminate our ability to learn, listen and engage together. To that end, ACWA staff is now completing an extraordinary effort to replicate the conference experience to the greatest degree possible. We will still deliver keynote addresses from top decision makers within the state and its water industry. Our list of speakers sharing their perspectives and insights include California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman and Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, as well as State Water Resources Control Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel. Understanding how these leaders view issues central to our work is not only highly interesting for anyone passionate about California water, but also essential to identifying trends in water policy. At the same time, the virtual conference will feature statewide issue forums and programs delving into the latest developments in areas such as PFAS, Bay-Delta policy, infrastructure funding and implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, not to mention COVID-19 and its financial impacts on public water systems and programming specifically for emerging leaders in our workforce. Many of these will be interactive and allow for question-and-answer sessions. We have even figured out how to host a virtual Exhibit Hall and reception. All of this is packaged inside an event that is much less expensive to attend than an in-person conference, meaning it is available for many more water professionals, particularly younger members of our industry who have yet to enjoy the ACWA conference experience. Making all this happen, ACWA staff, and especially its Business Development and Events team, has ventured deep into uncharted territory, but with an amazing degree of success and confidence. They are working with an internationally recognized virtual conference production company to help ensure a smooth experience for attendees. Will we pull it off? We are, and we will, because we owe it to you. And I think you owe it to yourself to say you were there for the ACWA 2020 Summer Virtual Conference & Exhibition. If you have not already, I urge you to visit www.acwa.com/events to find out more and register by the July 24 deadline.