The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) has selected its inaugural leadership to preside over the launch of the newly formed water provider.
William Cooper was appointed by his colleagues to serve as SCV Water’s first president. Maria Gutzeit and R.J. Kelly were appointed to serve as vice presidents. The trio will lead the new agency and its 15-member board as it sets out on its first year of service to its nearly 300,000 customers.
“It is humbling to be appointed president of SCV Water by my colleagues,” said Cooper. “I am tremendously proud of our team and community for coming together to build this water agency. It marks a new era of water management for the Santa Clarita Valley and will be a tremendous benefit for our region.”
Mr. Cooper was elected to the Castaic Lake Water Agency (CLWA) Board of Directors in 1993. He is a long-time water professional having worked for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for about 40 years. Mr. Cooper has managed some of the largest water treatment plants in the United States and was an adjunct Professor at College of the Canyons teaching the Environmental Technologies Water Treatment Program.
Ms. Gutzeit was the final president of the Newhall County Water District (NCWD) and served alongside Cooper on an ad hoc committee that set the formation of SCV Water in motion. She is an environmental engineer and was initially elected to the NCWD board in 2003.
“Building SCV Water from the ground up is the most important achievement of my 15 years of public service,” said Gutzeit. “To see us all put aside our differences and create something truly special for Santa Clarita Valley residents, our environment and water management was inspiring. I am grateful for the trust my colleagues have given us as leaders and look forward to delivering on the promise of SCV Water.”
Mr. Kelly comes to SCV Water from CLWA’s Board of Directors, where he was initially elected in 2003. He is a retired United States Marine and a veteran of the Vietnam War. Today, he serves as a tax and business consultant and has served on numerous water committees statewide.
“It is an honor to serve the people of the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Kelly. “We are ready and eager to roll up our sleeves and deliver on the promise of this agency. Water management in our great region has a bright, exciting future.”
The board will meet twice monthly on the first and third Tuesdays. They begin at 6:30 p.m. and are located at SCV Water’s headquarters at 27234 Bouquet Canyon Rd. Board meetings are open to the public.
SCV Water was formed on January 1, 2018 and combines the former service areas of Castaic Lake Water Agency, Newhall County Water District, Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company. Following a multi-year public engagement process, the agency was formed through Senate Bill 634 authored by Senator Scott Wilk and signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 15, 2017. SCV Water was formed to improve regional water management, enhance water governance and reduce costs for local ratepayers.