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One valley, one water supplier, official says

As population grows, concern grows over how we’ll be supplied

Posted: October 19, 2008 7:15 p.m.
Updated: December 21, 2008 5:00 a.m.

As growth strains the Santa Clarita Valley's water supplies, some officials consider one water agency for the entire valley. Read our continuing series about the valley's growth.

 
Tenth story in "The Big Picture," The Signal's series on plans for growth in the Santa Clarita Valley. Today we look at water, and why some officials think one agency should handle the SCV's water supplies. Click here for the rest of the stories.

One of the Santa Clarita Valley’s top water officials sees one valley, one vision, one water agency.

Dan Masnada is general manager of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, which wholesales an uninterrupted supply of clean, safe drinking water to water retailers in the SCV, as the agency’s mandate dictates.

As he balances a dwindling supply of drought-diminished water with a development-heavy demand, Masnada and others at the agency see many benefits in streamlining the community’s supply of water.

“We have one valley. We have one city. Why doesn’t it seem logical to have one retailer?” Masnada said.

Currently the agency sells State Water Project water to four local water purveyors: the Valencia Water Company, the Newhall County Water District, Los Angeles County Waterworks Division 36 and the Santa Clarita Water Division. The latter purveyor, formerly an independent retailer, is now owned by the Castaic Lake Water Agency.

About half the valley’s water comes from the State Water Project through CLWA; the other half is pumped from the valley’s two underground aquifers.

Last April Masnanda and water board members met in a Valencia micro-brewery to hammer out a strategy for the future of water in the valley.

When they emerged from the two-day strategy session, they had a road map of sorts, graphically rendered by Daniel Iacofano of the consulting firm MIG & Co.

Iacofamo drew a three-headed hydra circled in red next to notes that read: “Policy — wholesale should not subsidize retail.”

Iacofano also drew a clock-like sketch of the agency, with the CLWA acronym surrounded by agency accomplishments — “energy efficiency, diverse water portfolio, maximum use of conservation” — all under the banner in red reading “One Valley, One Water Company.”

The brainstorming session led to a state of mind about dovetailing water interests.

Such an idea is sure to meet with opposition.

The Newhall County Water District is the only local water board — besides Castaic Lake Water Agency’s — with publicly elected members.

When the possibility of merging Newhall County and Santa Clarita Water Division was floated years ago, many residents cried “foul” and said it was a bid to eliminate the public’s voice in water matters.

Others say one district for the entire valley would constitute a monopoly.

But advantages to one water district are evident: less overlapping infrastructure, pooled resources, elimination of the wholesale/retail tiers for delivery.

Masnada remains serious about one valley, one water agency.

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