WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – As water agencies strengthen efforts to address racial and gender bias, promote equity, foster inclusion, and catalyze change for marginalized communities, the California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA) shares ideas to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and environmental justice (EJ) goals.

CUWA is a non-profit organization comprised of 11 of the largest water agencies in California, serving over two-thirds of the state’s population.

Agencies on CUWA’s DEI Committee are at varying stages of creating DEI and EJ programs, leveraging their experiences, best practices, and lessons learned to assist each other and the water industry by publishing the DEI toolkit. Initial toolkit focus areas were selected based on input from CUWA’s DEI Committee and includes executive management commitment, data assessment, and action plans.

The toolkit provides a starting point for those balancing the desire for rapid progress with the creation of a solid foundation for long-term change. It consists of fact sheets describing implementation best practices and considerations for each focus area.

“Overcoming the barriers affecting our communities starts with us as major urban water agencies and increasing the number of diverse voices at the table,” said Rick Callender, Chief Executive Officer of Valley Water and co-chair of CUWA’s DEI Committee.

Fellow committee co-chair and Senior Assistant General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Anselmo Collins added:

“As leaders, we are responsible for setting the tone for a culture of respect within our agencies and demonstrating the commitment for long-term actions to improve DEI throughout the water industry.”

CUWA is dedicated to further developing the toolkit and supporting its members as they advance their own DEI programs. CUWA’s website will be updated with more references and resources as they become publicly available.


About CUWA

Established in 1990, the California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA) is a nonprofit corporation of 11 major urban water agencies that are responsible for delivering drinking water to about two-thirds of California’s population. As the collective voice for the largest urban water purveyors in California, CUWA provides technical perspective to promote common understanding and consensus solutions among the urban water community. CUWA agencies include Alameda County Water District, City of Fresno, Contra Costa Water District, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, City of San Diego Public Utilities Department, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, San Diego County Water Authority, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Zone 7 Water Agency. For more information, visit


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