NACWA Talks Importance of Integrated Planning in Los Angeles

(July 3, 2019) – NACWA presented at a workshop last week in Los Angeles hosted by member utility LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) to discuss how integrated planning (IP) has the potential to more strategically help Los Angeles, and communities across the country, better manage costs and prioritize their clean water investments.

The workshop was organized and hosted by Enrique Zaldivar, LASAN Director & General Manager and a member of the NACWA Board of Directors. 

In January, the President signed into law strong bipartisan legislation—the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R 7279)that codified the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) IP approach into law as part of the Clean Water Act (CWA), and provided one of the most significant substantive changes to the CWA in decades. 

Since then, NACWA has been working with its utility members, EPA and states to promote greater implementation of IP for both large and small communities—especially in the permitting context—as well as establishment of the new EPA Municipal Ombudsman Office created under H.R. 7279.

During the workshop, NACWA discussed with participants the importance of not looking at IP as a “cookie cutter model,” but rather a long-term, holistic, and sequenced approach developed by a clean water utility and its community to discuss with regulators how to most effectively and affordably incorporate clean water obligations and investments into CWA permits. With a “no one size fits all approach,” LA Sanitation has the opportunity to actively engage with federal and state regulators on how to creatively use IP concepts, best meeting their unique and diverse local clean water challenges across the board.

As part of the discussion, NACWA was joined by EPA Region 9 staff and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board for a productive panel discussion on how the city and regulators can begin working together to best utilize an IP for their growing clean water challenges.

NACWA thanks LASAN for inviting the Association to participate in this important workshop, and for its hard work in putting the event together.

Please contact Jason Isakovic, NACWA’s Director of Legislative Affairs, to discuss further.