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As the State Locked Down, California’s Water Coalition Kept its Communications from Freezing

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In several ways, California’s water supply is vital to the health of hundreds of millions of people. First, California is the most populous state in the US, and its 40 million residents need a reliable supply of safe water every day. Second, California is the largest agricultural-producing state in the US and serves as a significant food supplier to the country as well as many other nations. Without a high-quality water supply, the state’s farmers and agribusinesses couldn’t produce the food that feeds the world.

This is why the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), the largest coalition of public water agencies in the United States, is such an important organization for our country’s—and, in fact, the world’s—health and well-being.

Fortunately, when the California lockdown forced the nonprofit to transition its staff to remote work, ACWA had a cloud-communications system in place that enabled the organization to keep its important communications flowing.

Retiring a phone system that had become a glass half-empty

In late 2019, ACWA replaced its legacy phone system with a cloud solution. Two factors prompted the organization’s decision to upgrade from the communications infrastructure it had been using for many years.

First, ACWA’s aging phone system had become so outdated that even the smallest administrative tasks and troubleshooting fixes required third-party consultants. As Chief Technology Officer Christopher Do explains, “Our on-prem phone system was actually so old that the provider itself no longer offered support for it.”

A second factor was ACWA’s move to a new headquarters building. Although the budget-conscious nonprofit had made do with its outdated phone system up to that point, the executive team decided to use the office move as an opportunity to finally upgrade to a modern communications solution.

Luckily for ACWA, the migration to RingCentral’s work-from-anywhere cloud platform took place just a few months before California’s quarantine orders sent their staff home to work remotely.

RingCentral helps ACWA continue its vital mission during the lockdown

The pandemic forced ACWA to temporarily close the new office building its staff had just settled into. But fortunately, the transition wasn’t nearly as disruptive as it could have been, because employees were able to immediately shift to using their smartphones, laptops, and desktops to take and make calls with their business phone numbers.

“Because everyone had the RingCentral app,” Christopher says, “they were able to easily connect their work numbers to their personal phones and their computers, so they could keep working and helping our members even from home.”

Given the importance of the work ACWA’s employees do for California’s hundreds of public water agencies—and, indirectly, for the water and food supply of millions of people around the world—the nonprofit’s ability to continue communicating with its member agencies, journalists, community leaders, and policymakers during the lockdowns was vital. And we at RingCentral are proud to know our cloud-communications solution played a small role in enabling that vital work.]]>

Originally published Jul 16, 2020, updated Dec 30, 2022

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