Disadvantaged Communities Involvement Program
Proposition 1, approved by the voters in 2014, includes targeted funding for Disadvantaged Community (DAC) assistance, project studies and project implementation. One specific element of the Prop. 1 funding is the Disadvantaged Community Involvement Grant Program. These funds are allocated on a Funding Area basis (WCVC is part of the LA-Ventura Funding Area) and require NO matching funds. These funds and are intended to support the following objectives (Source: DWR):
- Work collaboratively to involve DACs, community-based organizations, and stakeholders in IRWM Planning efforts to ensure balanced access and opportunity for participation in the IRWM planning process
- Increase the understanding, and where necessary, identify the water management needs of DACs on a Funding Area basis
- Develop strategies and long-term solutions that appropriately address the identified DAC water management needs
For more information see the Department of Water Resources’ Proposition 1 Disadvantaged Community Involvement (DACIP) Funding website.
Los Angeles-Ventura Disadvantaged Community Involvement Program
What is WaterTalks?
WaterTalks is a public program designed to generate and increase community involvement in planning a sustainable water future for California. Its goal is to explore the strengths and opportunities of 128 communities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties facing ongoing economic and environmental distress, and to gather input to prioritize and recommend water-related projects based on issues of greatest concern.
WaterTalks is being implemented in three phases. The first phase of WaterTalks outreach events was designed to educate and engage communities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties facing ongoing economic and environmental distress, empowering them to engage in water planning including subsequent phases of WaterTalks. The second phase focused on assessing water related needs in these communities through additional outreach and engagement, and the third and final phase includes technical assistance and project development designed to help these communities address the identified water related challenges.
WaterTalks aims to ensure that regional water resource management considers the health, safety, welfare, and resiliency of lower-income community members.
To do so, WaterTalks has offered a series of community events for the benefit of local residents to do the following:
- Raise questions and concerns about their water-related issues
- Provide crucial input regarding their community’s water needs, possible solutions
- Learn about the State’s most current water related topics. These include drinking water, water conservation, flood management, drainage, vector control, access to parks and recreation, and the overall health of our watersheds.
Participation in a WaterTalks Community events helps ensure communities’ needs, concerns, questions, and insights become part of the State’s future water projects. Events in your community can be found on the “Get Involved” page.
To view the website please visit: https://watertalks.csusb.edu/
Outreach Events in Ventura County:
The outreach phase was led by local community partners who conducted in-person and virtual events. The three community partner organizations are CAUSE, Friends of the Santa Clara River and the Sierra Club. The program is focusing in nine communities in the County: Piru, Fillmore, Santa Paula, Oxnard, El Rio, Nyeland Acres, Saticoy, Casitas Springs, and the Ventura Avenue community in West Ventura.
For more information about the completed events please visit the WaterTalks website: https://watertalks.csusb.edu/past-events. There is also information on the site regarding marketing events and tribal engagement that occurred before the Covid-19 Stay at Home orders were issued.
Fact sheets have been developed with helpful information regarding Covid-19 and other topics
DWR has developed 3 web-based mapping applications to assist local agencies and other interested parties in water management planning efforts:
- Disadvantaged Communities (DACs)
- Economically Distressed Areas (EDAs)
- Water Management Planning Tool
Disadvantaged Community Mapping Tool – For a map of DACs in California, see the Department of Water Resources link:
To view DAC areas in Ventura County, use the search box to pull up Ventura County and then click on the various filters and layers to see which areas are identified as disadvantaged or severely disadvantaged, based on recent Census data.
Strengths and Needs Assessments
Perhaps the most important element of this program is assessing the strengths and needs of the nine identified underserved communities and their service providers. Despite the pandemic and limits on in-person outreach, WCVC’s community-based partner organizations conducted assessed community and institutional needs through surveys using a variety of methods, including on-line interviews, phone banking, mailed and digital surveys and social media. The needs identified in each of these communities are driving the types of projects and programs that are being developed for funding and technical assistance. For the survey results and link to the needs assessment dashboard please visit: https://watertalks.csusb.edu/ventura-county
Coordination with other IRWM Regions in the LA-Ventura Funding Area
There are three IRWM Regions in our Funding Area: Greater Los Angeles County (GLAC), Upper Santa Clara River (USCR) and WCVC. Oversight of this grant is provided by the DACI Task Force which is comprised of two representatives from each of the three regions. The Task Force meets regularly and will continue throughout the three-year grant period.
DACI Grant Funds
WCVC is working with our partners in the LA-Ventura Funding Area to conduct eligible activities; there is a total of $9.8 million allocated to our Funding Area, with no set formula for distribution of the funding among the IRWM Regions. Eligible activities include: technical assistance, needs assessments (required), project development activities, site assessment, IRWM engagement, governance structure, community outreach, education, facilitation and enhancement of DAC aspects of IRWM Plan.
These funds will help our region address unmet water quality and water supply needs in our lower income communities and to better integrate these needs with other regional efforts. In addition to the DAC Involvement Funding, Proposition 1 also includes funding for DAC implementation projects. Once we have conducted activities as part of the DAC Involvement funding program, we’ll be in a better position to identify which DAC projects to put forward for the two rounds of Prop. 1 IRWM Implementation Grant funding as well as for other grant programs.
Local Approach to DAC Involvement Funding Program
In the past, water quality and water supply projects that benefit DAC areas in the County have been implemented. In 2016 the WCVC DAC Committee was formed to involve stakeholders (community members, non-governmental entities, water suppliers, wastewater agencies) in the process of identifying water supply, water quality and related needs in DAC areas throughout our Region. The goal is to better understand these needs to determine how to best serve those communities with funds from the DACIP grant – and to engage residents and entities within these areas in the IRWM planning process.
For more information about the DACIP grant program in our Funding Area, you can visit: http://dpw.lacounty.gov/wmd/irwmp/Prop1DACIP.aspx. On that site you will find the agendas and meeting summaries for the DACIP Committee.