Racial Equity Resolution and Related Actions

The Water Boards are working toward a future where we equitably implement our mission to preserve, protect, and restore drinking water and water resources for all Californians, and where:

  • race no longer predicts the access to or quality of water resources a person receives,
  • race is not a predictor of professional outcomes for our employees, and
  • we consistently apply a racial equity lens to our decision-making processes.

Racial Equity Resolution

During its August 18, 2020 meeting, the State Water Board publicly acknowledged that the historical effects of institutional racism must be confronted throughout government, and it directed staff to develop a priority plan of action. The Water Boards Racial Equity Team held public and employee listening sessions to help develop a draft resolution. After a public comment period on the draft resolution in spring 2021, the Racial Equity Team made significant updates to the resolution. On November 16, 2021, the State Water Board adopted Resolution No. 2021-0050, “Condemning Racism, Xenophobia, Bigotry, and Racial Injustice and Strengthening Commitment to Racial Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Access, and Anti-Racism" (Racial Equity Resolution) which affirms our commitment to racial equity and directs staff to undertake a variety of actions to achieve racial equity throughout all Water Boards programs and activities. Primary among these actions is the implementation of a Racial Equity Action Plan, which the Racial Equity Team is in the process of developing.

Racial Equity Action Plan

The resolution is one milestone on our ongoing journey; the next step is to develop the Racial Equity Action Plan, which will include specific actions the State Water Board will take to address racial inequities, as well as metrics to measure our progress. With this action plan, we envision a sustainable California where race no longer predicts where clean water is available or who has access to it.

Beginning in spring 2022, we engaged in action plan scoping, visioning and strategizing. Public and employee engagement and tribal consultations are key to achieving our action planning process. In April, we notified tribal governments of the opportunity to consult with the State Water Board on the draft racial equity action plan. Tribal governments can request consultation during action plan development as well as after a draft plan has been released.

Get Involved

This summer, we are partnering with several community groups to host four public workshops this summer (2022) to hear recommendations and ideas from the public and tribes on the Water Boards’ action plan. We encourage you to get involved in three ways:

  • 1) Register for an upcoming public workshop:
    • July 20 — Statewide Virtual Workshop (via Zoom), 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Online only
    • July 21 — Northern California Workshop (Redding, CA), 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., In person and online
    • July 25 — Southern California Workshop (Mecca, CA), 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., In person and online
    • July 27 — Central California Workshop (Visalia, CA), 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., In person and online
    Note: You may attend any of the four sessions regardless of where you live in California.
  • 2) Submit feedback on the draft action plan when the public commenting period opens in fall 2022.
  • 3) Email your suggestions to: racialequity@waterboards.ca.gov.

Following the workshops, we will develop a draft action plan and present it during a board workshop in the fall. After the close of the public comment period in October, we expect to present the final Action Plan to the Board in late 2022 or early 2023.

The Racial Equity Action Plan will drive the State Water Board toward four strategic directions.

  • 1) Integrating Racial Equity, Measuring Impact
    Infusing the racial equity resolution throughout the Water Boards’ policies, programs and practices; measuring progress toward goals and adapting when necessary.
  • 2) Creating and Maintaining Spaces for Inclusion and Belonging
    Addressing internal and external representation of Black, Indigenous and people of color at all Water Boards levels; elevating overall understanding of racial equity.
  • 3) Activating Community Wisdom of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
    Fostering open communications for voices of Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities; incorporating wisdom from Black, Indigenous and people of color communities in our decision-making processes.
  • 4) Sharing Power and Knowledge with Communities
    Offering ongoing training and dedicated resources to raise awareness of the Water Boards’ role in managing the state’s water resources; cultivating authentic relationships that empower communities as partners for racial equity.