Representing Regional Needs on Legislative and Regulatory Policies

In 2013, the Regional Water Authority Board of Directors approved a five-year strategic plan. A key component of the plan was advocacy. The Board’s goal: Ensure that regional needs and concerns are positively represented on legislative and regulatory policies and actions. To achieve this goal, RWA launched the Advocacy Program. RWA dedicated resources to a contract lobbyist and part-time staffing for the program in 2015. After just one full year in operation, the results are palpable and significant.

RWA and member agency staff created a legislative platform and policy principles for Board approval that address key advocacy issues and goals. These will guide RWA’s advocacy efforts and future work plans for years to come. The documents also demonstrate RWA’s commitment to strong, proactive advocacy and will help build upon our important partnerships with allied organizations as we continue to increase RWA’s advocacy profile.

The year’s key highlights include one-on-one meetings with all of the region’s state representatives, tracking hundreds of bills, lobbying proactively on nearly two dozen bills, hosting tours of local water resources for legislators and staff and passage of some key bills. Program ambassadors also reached out to local elected leaders, meeting with those newly elected in 2014 or whose districts are impacted most by drought or water conservation measures.

RWA staff also continues to lead in the development of regulations to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, helping to ensure that local authority and flexibility will be paramount.