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Water Board Elections: What They Mean

Every time a faucet is turned on in Santa Clarita, the water that emerges is at the end of a lengthy and storied journey. The water is collected, stored, relocated, treated, sold, resold and sent out to the public. The end product is clean, on demand water, in the closest thing to a desert this side of the Mojave.

            The Castaic Lake Water Agency is a public water agency that provides the Santa Clarita Valley with half of its water. The governing board of the water agency is an 11 member board, of which 7 are elected officials. The board makes decisions in regards to the acquisition, treatment and distribution of our water, and on November 7th, four members are up for re-election.

So what is the Water Board, what do they do? Dan Masnada, General Manager of Castaic Lake Water Agency helps to explain. Castaic Lake Water Agency is a wholesaler of water, meaning they retrieve the water from other locations (mainly in northern California) and they bring it down to us. Once here, the water is treated by the agency and stored. Since the groundwater here is not nearly enough to accommodate the population, Castaic Lake Water Agency sells its water to four local retailers. The retailers are: La County Waterworks District #36, Newhall County Water District, Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company.

The Castaic Lake Water Agency board is a hybrid of publicly elected officials and representatives of the retailers who buy the water. Here’s how the 11 members break down.

Board Members:

1 Member “At Large”: Elected by the whole population of Santa Clarita.
                        6 Division members
                            Div. 1 – 2 members elected from roughly the Canyon Country area.
                            Div. 2 – 2 members elected from roughly the Valencia/Newhall area.
                            Div. 3 – 2 members elected from roughly the Castaic/Stevenson Ranch areas.

                        4 Appointed members with each representing one of the four retailers.

            While each of the 6 divisional members are only voted for by their particular division, their decisions will mostly affect Santa Clarita across the board, according to Masnada. For the “At Large” position, incumbent Tom Campbell is up against Isaac Lieberman. The divisional races feature incumbents Ed Colley (div 1), Peter Kavounas (div 2) and Jacque McMillan (div 3) facing off against Jan Heidt (div 1), Cam Noltemeyer (div 2), Christopher Hall (div 2) and Carole Lutness (div 3). The Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the incumbents.

            Another issue affecting the Water Board will most certainly be the coming expansion of population in and around Santa Clarita. Newhall Land’s slated Newhall Ranch development plans on adding 20,000 homes and expanding businesses leading to an additional 20,000 jobs. The need for water will increase enormously, and the Castaic Lake Water Agency will need to acquire water to fill that void.

        So come November 7th when you line up at the voting booths, the Water Board elections in your area may be worth some extra thought. The water we have is a precious commodity that is not 100% natural, and how we get the water we need may be worth a second look.  

Jon Dell

KHTS AM 1220 News

Water Board Elections: What They Mean

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