Earlier this year, the California Water Data Consortium’s Steering Committee, which supports programmatic work, discussed how the institutions that they work for are reaching communities, how the Consortium can support this work, and set near-term priorities for the Consortium.
This discussion was guided by a recently released draft memo outlining short and long-term opportunities for the California Water Data Consortium to support community engagement. Contact Tara Moran if you have any comments or feedback on the document.
Community engagement efforts
The conversation highlighted numerous ongoing community engagement efforts being advanced by individual committee members and their organizations. Several of these efforts and the organizations advancing these efforts are highlighted below.
- Surveying community-based organizations about water advocacy and data needs: Berkeley Lab; Self-Help Enterprises; Stantec; and State Water Resources Control Board.
- Creating user guides and use cases along with public deliverables: Berkeley Lab; Delta Stewardship Council; Moulton Niguel Water District; and State Water Resources Control Board.
- Offering public workshops alongside governmental agencies to help community-based organizations: Berkeley Lab; Delta Stewardship Council; Stantec; State Water Resources Control Board; and the Water Quality Monitoring Council.
- Sharing funding opportunities for water data projects: Delta Stewardship Council; and the Water Quality Monitoring Council. Of note: Keep an eye out for a fall proposal solicitation from the Delta Stewardship Council.
The Steering Committee also discussed and recommended four priorities for the Consortium to advance over the next year. The priorities flowed from a Consortium outreach initiative that drew from interviews and public hearings to better understand where community-informed insights could be brought into the Consortium’s projects, operations, and governance structures.
The near-term priorities being recommended by the Steering Committee are:
- Continue building relationships with advocacy groups, NGOs, and others as potential partners on Consortium projects.
- Continue learning from community-based expertise by interviewing experts, attending public hearings, and holding group listening sessions.
- Assess avenues through existing and future projects to address community water needs by prioritizing water data projects for underserved communities and their partner organizations.
- Continue to pursue more equitable and inclusive practices in the Consortium through governance structures such as stipends/honorariums for community partners and continued recruitment of diverse leadership for the Steering Committee and Board of Directors.
While the 11 committee members reached consensus on most priorities, the Consortium’s role in the community engagement space will continue to be considered and shaped moving forward.
Resources: Draft Community Engagement Memo
Whenever possible, the Consortium will continue to highlight these and other community-centered water or water data initiatives through our listserv and other avenues. Please reach out to Tara Moran at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any initiatives that you would like to share!