A new water district for the Santa Clarita Valley will become reality, thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval of Senate Bill 634 on Sunday.
Authored by Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita), the legislation reorganizes Newhall County Water District and Castaic Lake Water Agency into the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, which will launch Jan. 1, 2018.
“This is a historic day for the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Maria Gutzeit, NCWD board president. “We have worked tirelessly with Senator Wilk, our customers, environmental organizations, local government and businesses over the last two years to create something special for our community. We are grateful that the Governor saw the wisdom in creating a new, modern era of water management in the Valley.”
SCV Water will unify a fragmented system of small water providers into a modern and collaborative model. It was created as part of a nearly two-year public engagement process that included stakeholders from across the region.
“The creation of SCV Water is a testament to the extraordinary achievements we can accomplish when we work together,” said Bob DiPrimio, CLWA board president. “SCV Water puts us firmly on the path of unified water management. This is a proud moment for our region.”
“Governor Brown saw the wisdom in having a valley-wide water agency that can better manage our most precious resource and I’m thankful he signed SB 634 into law,” Wilk said. “My staff and I spent countless hours with water professionals, community leaders and stakeholders, ratepayers and legislative colleagues. The result of those efforts will ensure reliable, clean water for the Santa Clarita Valley and provide mortgage paying jobs for our workforce and veterans. The governor’s signature validates the vision of our valley and affords ratepayers a water agency with a streamlined governance structure reflecting the values of transparency and accountability.”
The new agency is expected to save $14 million in its first 10 years and result in enhanced water reliability, including growth of a recycled water supply, better groundwater management and environmental and watershed protections.
Three evenly sized electoral divisions will provide equal voting rights and representation to all corners of the Santa Clarita Valley for the first time in the region’s history.
“From the beginning, the goal was to partner with the community to develop a 21st Century water agency we can proud of for years to come,” Wilk said. “I believe we did that, and with the governor’s signature, the people of Santa Clarita Valley will now have an agency that will be better positioned to provide proper stewardship of the environment as well as better protect ratepayers,” concluded Wilk.
Leaders from CLWA and NCWD will hold public meetings to develop an operational framework and policies. The meetings begin at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24 at NCWD, Nov. 13 at CLWA, and Dec. 4 at a location to be determined.
“As the legislative process of forming the new agency comes to a close, the work of building it has just begun,” Gutzeit said. “This will be an ongoing and methodical process that will engage the public as much as possible.”
More information is available online at www.YourSCVWater.com.