Every Voice Engaged — Common Ground for California Water

What is happening? – The state of California will take the water crisis by the horns during the month of February to discuss long term sustainability and short term relief for our towns and water-reliant industries. Every Voice Engaged in partnership with Conteneo wants to bring thousands of California residents into this discussion via their new online tool Common Ground for Action.

Common Ground for Action – Common Ground for Action was developed by Conteneo in partnership with The Kettering Foundation (non-partisan) using Kettering’s method of deliberation and collaboration. CGA encourages thorough consideration of the actions we could take and their related drawbacks, allowing people to come out of partisan corners and discover their needs ( e.g. to be safe, to be happy, to live in a fair society…). As this conversation develops, a visual representation of the issue is

Water CGA


All communication is chat based, so participants are asked to have access to a keyboard to get the most out of the experience.

Common Ground for Action is not a partisan tool. The options, actions, and drawbacks will be constructed based on direct feedback from citizens and with the guidance of water experts.

Why are we doing this? – Several cities could be without water within the quarter. This issue has nationwide impact – in 2013, California produced over a third of the country’s vegetables and nearly two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts, according to the California Department of Food & Agriculture. We have to discuss this crisis now.
Much of the current conversation about water has been highly politicized – with companies with lobbying power and politicians at the center of the debate and citizens in impacted areas along the periphery. It’s time we changed that.

Public opinion polling has traditionally been a single person on the phone with someone asking questions that have been written for a particular purpose. CGA will be different, as the discussion will be between participants and everyone will have the ability to change their mind throughout the process.

The data produced in this method, will give policy makers a clear understanding of the citizens’ needs and wants. Citizens will leave with a better understanding of each other and a personal and macro level understanding of the bond measure’s effect on the state.

In order to keep the conversations on task and attempt to understand the root of participant concerns, trained moderators will be available. Unruly, participants will be removed from the forum by moderators.

Who are we looking for? – Our goal is to engage people throughout the state of California allowing us to facilitate conversations between tech gurus in Silicon Valley, ecologists in the Delta, and farmers in the Central Valley – all bringing their own perspective and needs along with individual determination to find a solution.  Want to be involved?  Sign up here!

Because these forums will be moderated, we are also searching for individuals interested in being moderators. Because Common Ground for Action is still quite new, we will have several trainings before the forums and moderators will have access to an account so they can acquaint themselves.