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Tom Campbell: Castaic Lake Water Agency looks back at 2012

Posted: January 7, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 7, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

Well, you could say we saved the biggest news for last, and in any case 2012 will go down as a landmark year in the history of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, with the purchase of the Valencia Water Co. — a move that consolidates 84 percent of the Santa Clarita Valley’s retail water connections under the agency’s umbrella.

It’s one big step toward the “One Valley, One Water” vision in which the community’s precious water resources are managed and delivered in a more cohesive, consolidated and cost-effective way.

There are numerous significant public benefits to the acquisition. Among them:

 Financial: SCV water customers will benefit from economies of scale that will be generated by a consolidated retail water system. Reduced duplication of efforts, better access to lower-cost public financing mechanisms and the spreading of fixed costs over a larger customer base will all help keep water rates as low as possible over the long term.

Water resources management: When Valencia Water Co.’s 30,217 connections join the 29,089 the agency already serves by its Santa Clarita Water Division, it will facilitate more efficient long-term water resources planning, to make sure we best manage our valley’s water supply portfolio consisting of groundwater, recycled and imported sources.

Water use efficiency and conservation: The shared resources of SCWD and Valencia Water Company will more effectively promote a consistent conservation message. This improved level of outreach will increase our ability to establish a permanent water use efficiency ethic in the community.

Public representation: Valencia Water Company customers will be represented by local public officials, which will provide them a more direct say on all aspects of their water service.   

It’s a landmark moment for the Santa Clarita Valley’s water landscape, but the biggest water news of the year wasn’t the only news — and it wasn’t the only landmark, either. In 2012, CLWA celebrated its 50th anniversary, commemorating the agency’s first half-century of serving the SCV.

It started in 1962, when the agency was created to bring State Water Project water to the valley. That mission would be accomplished with the start-up of the agency’s Earl Schmidt Filtration Plant and initial deliveries of imported water to the SCV in 1980.

The agency would then go on to build its Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant, purchase additional water supplies and increase water supply reliability by participating in various water banking programs.

This year, the agency celebrated its accomplishments over its first 50 years with a special birthday party at the agency’s headquarters and the creation of a commemorative video and historic timeline, both available on the agency’s website, www.clwa.org.

And there’s more to reflect on from 2012:

Water efficiency outreach: We continued to promote an ongoing ethic of efficient water use. We along with SCWD and the other local water retailers continued to offer rebates on water saving washing machines and toilets and developed online signup and training for our popular weather-based irrigation controller giveaway program. Find more information on these programs at www.scvh2o.org.

Continued support on the delta: We continued our ongoing role in supporting the state’s efforts to find a long-term solution for the environmental and water issues related to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The agency is closely monitoring the Bay Delta Conservation Plan process, which seeks to achieve the co-equal goals of protecting California’s water supplies while restoring the Delta’s ecosystem. (Look for more on this next week as we look ahead to 2013...)

Ample supply: 2012 proved to be our second consecutive year in which water supplies were ample, not so much due to precipitation levels, which were low, but thanks to excellent advance planning and management of our stored imported and groundwater resources. In collaboration with SCWD and the other local water retailers, we never let our guard down because we always know more dry years are ahead.

It has been a busy year indeed, and as the process of acquiring Valencia Water Company continues to move forward and we look ahead at statewide progress in resolving long-running water supply challenges, it’s clear that 2013 will be equally eventful and significant. More on that in Part 2 as we look ahead to the coming year and all it is expected to bring for the Santa Clarita Valley’s water supply.

Tom Campbell is the president of the Castaic Lake Water Agency Board of Directors. His column reflects the agency’s views, and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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