A Solid Foundation For the Future

In the early 1990s, water purveyors in the Sacramento region faced an increasingly complex landscape. Communities and water supply needs were growing rapidly, and concern for the environment was increasing. The spread of groundwater contamination and the need to protect the lower American River were adding new challenges to the job of ensuring safe and reliable water supplies.

Guided by the idea that agencies can accomplish more together than separately, local water providers began a two-year process to combine existing efforts and create a unified approach to regional water issues. The result was the Regional Water Authority (RWA), a joint powers authority formed in June 2001.

The regional approach continues to pay dividends. With its emphasis on partnerships and technical excellence, RWA has netted tangible results for its members and marked milestones on numerous projects to help secure the region’s water future.

The Water Forum Agreement

The Water Forum Agreement is an historic regional commitment to meet two co-equal objectives: to provide a safe and reliable water supply to support the
region’s economy and to preserve the environment of the American River.

Reached in 2000, after several years of collaborative negotiations, the agreement contains seven elements–categories of complementary actions that are necessary for a solution to work. These include:

  • Increased surface water diversions
  • Actions to meet customer needs while reducing diversion impacts in drier years
  • Support for improved pattern of fishery flow releases from Folsom Reservoir
  • Lower American River habitat management
  • Water conservation
  • Groundwater management
  • Water Forum Successor Effort

The landmark agreement provides a foundation for collaborative solutions and a process to resolve future conflicts between the Water Forum’s diverse stakeholders.