West Basin MWD Launches DEI Initiatives

By West Basin MWD, Wastewater News

In June, West Basin Board President Gloria D. Gray publicly declared the District’s ongoing commitment to support and celebrate the diversity of its workforce and the communities served by the District. Commenting on a number of recent events that have occurred throughout the country, President Gray also stated that racial bias and injustice should never be tolerated.

“As a public agency, West Basin has the responsibility to provide outstanding customer service to our customers and communities without racial bias,” stated President Gray. “It is also incumbent upon leadership to ensure that our employees feel supported, listened to and respected despite any differences.”

President Gray announced the board would be working with staff to develop and implement new initiatives aimed at further enhancing the District’s efforts in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The District publishes an annual diversity report that reflects the demographic breakdown by race and gender of the District’s full-time employees. The report demonstrates that despite its relatively small size, West Basin includes a diverse set of employees.

Since the beginning of this year, the District has offered a water conservation program specifically aimed at serving communities with historically lower participation levels in District programs. More than 500 residents have received free water-saving devices and rebates so far through the program, with a second phase of the program being planned for this fall.

On July 27, the Board of Directors voted to join the California African American Water Education Foundation, a non-profit water education organization that aims to provide urban and rural communities in California with information about water quality, rates, supply and resource management.

Other proposed measures currently underway and being implemented include:

  • Formation of a diversity & inclusion team that will discuss how the District can best serve and support its employees and communities.
  • Training for all employees, including board members, to support future outreach initiatives and programs that meet the needs of the communities served by West Basin.
  • Becoming a member of the Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE), which offers resources for developing a racial and equity plan and for collaborating with other similar organizations in the region.

Any new initiative implemented by the District will be carried out in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, to ensure that West Basin employees, customers, and community members continue to receive the appropriate levels of support and resources.