Water resources problems are complex and far-reaching. Forming strategic alliances, both through formal agreements and informal working relationships, leverages limited resources and expertise beyond the reach of a single organization. There is an increasing commitment to work together as a means of accomplishing shared goals.
Effective partnerships can result in actions and accomplishments that would not be possible by each agency acting alone. Some hallmarks of a successful partnership are: a shared vision; common objectives; and an action plan that outlines specific activities and products. However, many of the benefits of partnerships are intangible and difficult to measure such as improved communication, trust, and interpersonal relationships.
Partnering helps to break down organizational barriers that block performance. It empowers organizational representatives to implement programs in ways that maximize the resources of all participating groups. Partnering is a tool for creating a spirit of teamwork even though the participants represent different organizations.
Strong partnering relationships are based upon trust, dedication to common goals, and an understanding of each other’s expertise, expectations, and values. The critical elements of partnering include up-front visioning on the goals of the partnership, appropriate empowerment of personnel, and ongoing support of the partnering process.
Following basic partnering principles can also result in quantifiable and even monetary benefits. A functional and productive partnership can leverage the resources of the agencies and lead to cost savings, elimination of redundancies, time savings and in some cases improved customer service.