The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) held its fall conference and one of the big topics is paying for new water infrastructure in the state.
As we blogged last week, the water infrastructure in much of California is starting to get a bit old and needs to be replaced. We were hoping that Congress would pass some infrastructure spending as part of a stimulus bill, but so far it hasn’t. The ACWA meeting attracted about 1,700 water officials from around the state. We learned how California voters are feeling right now about public works spending in today’s tough economy when Mark DiCamillo of the Field Research Corporation shared the results of an opinion poll done on the California economy.
As we pointed out last week and in the past, we think that public works spending makes a lot of sense, in fact dollars and sense. Phase 1 of the Southeast Water Reliability Project (SWRP) took a $5.6 million dollar federal grant and turned it into 300 jobs – that means $18 million to the local economy.
On the water front, discussions centered on “The Value of Water” highlighted results of public perceptions and the actual value that people receive for their water. Additionally, members of the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) shared a presentation titled “Demystifying the Delta Plan”. Discussions also included viewpoints from members of the Environmental Water Caucus and leaders of the Ag-Urban Coalition sharing input on the critical topic of co-equal goals of the Delta plan. The comment period of DSCs draft EIR ends on February 2, 2012.
With several interesting discussions on topics centered on key water issues, the conference concluded with a look at California Forward’s proposal to encourage cooperation among local governments to produce improved results on government services. Read more here on the Smart Government Framework.