At TreePeople, we like to say that trees need people and people need trees. But both trees and people need another precious resource to survive: water.
That is why a focus on water has been central to our work at TreePeople. For 45 years, we have built community-based support to protect and expand our tree canopy, reduce pollution, flooding and to capture and filter water. These are intimately related to the health of our trees, which are vital to our health as human beings.
And this work is especially important because we know that these issues do not affect all people in the same way.
Many communities across Los Angeles County — from Pacoima to Wilmington, Pomona to Inglewood — face ongoing economic and environmental distress and as a result, suffer daily from negative health effects caused by our urban environment.
It is why TreePeople — along with nine community partners — are involved in the WaterTalks program, which aims to ensure that regional water resource management considers the health, safety, welfare, and resiliency of these communities.
The WaterTalks program, which is funded by the California Department of Water Resources, is 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 County facing ongoing economic and environmental distress and gather input to prioritize and recommend water-related projects based on issues of greatest concern.
The program, which is funded by Proposition 1, rolls out in several phases:
- Community Engagement: A series of 50 community meetings and events across LA County are held for residents to raise questions and concerns about their water-related issues, provide crucial input regarding their community’s water needs, possible solutions, and to learn about the State’s most current water-related topics. These include drinking water, conservation, flood management, drainage, vector control, access to parks and recreation, and the overall health of our watersheds.
- Data Gathering: Listening sessions and surveys to identify pressing needs and challenges that could be addressed through water infrastructure projects.
- Project Implementation: The development and execution of projects to address identified needs.
Participation in WaterTalks Community events will help ensure communities’ needs, concerns, questions, and insights become part of the State’s future water projects.
It will help LA become more water resilient, while also lifting up our communities who need it most. It will improve the health of vulnerable populations, while beautifying our neighborhoods. It will provide for future generations, while protecting our children today.
But most of all, it will address the hardships faced by communities that for too long have paid the price. We hope you join us!
While the meetings are postponed for now due to COVID-19, you’ll be able to find future events here: https://watertalks.csusb.edu/
Take a look at some of our past events: