California Economic Summit

The California Economic Summit, managed by the nonprofit California Forward, is California’s only statewide venue for forging a comprehensive action plan to address the prosperity of citizens and businesses in local, regional and statewide contexts. This powerful network of public, private and civic sector leaders captures top-line ideas and energy from all regions of the state and champions initiatives aimed at the “triple bottom line” principles of economic growth, environmental sustainability, and equity for all Californians. 

Among other things, the Summit focuses on the “Million Challenges,” including the need to invest in sustainable water systems. Since 2015, Catalyst has been a critical player in the Summit’s One Million Acre-feet of Water Challenge. Charles Gardiner convened water leaders across California to develop sustainable funding and governance recommendations for the Summit to advance this initiative. He worked with thought leaders to develop funding concepts and proposed pilot efforts to present to business leaders and infrastructure investment advocates. 

Key to this ongoing effort is the advancement of initiatives to connect the headwaters located high in the forests with downstream water users located throughout the state. Other priorities include identifying needed legal and practical changes for better coordination and alignment of water resources and addressing the needs of disadvantaged communities to improve water quality, affordability and reliability.