No fear, just water

executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, a nonprofit statewide association of public-water agencies

After reading the piece by Burt Wilson (“More water propaganda flowing,” SN&R Guest Comment, February 9), I’m not at all sure we were at the same Association of California Water Agencies meeting. Let me set the record straight.

We held a forum for ACWA’s local water-agency members to update them on key plans and activities for the year. Among the topics discussed was the need to invest in our state’s water-supply infrastructure. We reported on a recent survey conducted by Field Research on ACWA’s behalf found that a large majority of Californians believe we must make major investments to upgrade and modernize our water system. The survey is available at

We also reported on a new coalition, Clean Water and Jobs for California, organized to educate the public about the need to invest in the state’s water system to sustain and grow jobs and the economy. Our entire economy depends on water, yet investments in critical aspects of our water system have not kept pace with our growing population and our changing needs.

Clean Water and Jobs is spearheaded by ACWA, the California Latino Water Coalition and the California Building Industry Association and is supported by a growing number of organizations representing business, agriculture, labor and public water agencies. A complete list of supporters is at

We also discussed the $11.14 billion water bond set for the November ballot. The bond was approved by the Legislature as part of a package of water reforms passed in 2009. Its purpose is to provide a public cost share for elements of the package that benefit the public. If approved by voters, every dollar authorized by the bond would leverage $3 to $4 in other funds for a total of up to $40 billion for needed investments.

While a number of interests are discussing the possibility of changes to the specific details of the bond, few are challenging the need to hold the integrity of the package together and the need for general obligation bond financing to help finance that package.

Neither ACWA nor Clean Water and Jobs for California is mounting a fear-based propaganda effort. On the contrary: We are working to educate Californians about the real connection between reliable water infrastructure and jobs.