Contra Costa Flood Control leaders have a tradition of visiting the State Capitol for the annual Watershed Day event, where groups that work in watersheds around the state meet to recognize achievements and troubleshoot common problems. This year, the local team made an impact by visiting with State legislators and key staff, giving them a chance to highlight the District’s accomplishments and share information about funding concerns looming on the horizon.
Mitch Avalon, Mike Carlson, Tim Jensen and Elissa Robinson brought to Sacramento the important campaign advocating for more equitable funding for stormwater agencies during the April 27, 2016, Watershed Day.
Contra Costa’s Flood Control District is not alone in struggling with the difficulty in raising money to properly maintain and replace flood control facilities. Contra Costa is supporting the “One Water” concept, which would fund all municipal water equally. Treating all sectors of California’s municipal water cycle the same would allow stormwater to operate more efficiently, keep our streams cleaner, reduce flood risk, and be a part of the solution to providing water in a dry climate.
One Water would put stormwater services on an equal setting with drinking water and wastewater utility services. Both of those utilities are able to charge their users rates that allow them to provide the necessary maintenance and services to maintain a well-functioning system. Considering the precarious nature of California’s water supply, we need to look for more inclusive ways of capturing and using water. Equally funding all three sectors of our water system will help California move towards a more secure water future.
Contra Costa Flood Control leaders met face-to-face with Assembly Members Baker, Frazier and Thurmond, who represent parts of our County. They also met with key staff from Senator Glazer’s and Wolk’s offices, briefing them all about the challenges the District is facing and talking through solutions. The legislators and their staff members were excited to get the high level briefing, and have agreed to tour our facilities to get a better sense of the scope of the problem.
The Watershed Day push turned out to be more useful than could have been imagined, and will set the stage for next year’s outreach as well.