It’s getting dry here in CV, and it’s going to get drier. We’re running low on water for this thirsty town, and although the situation may improve fleetingly for a year or two, we’re facing a fundamental shift in the way we manage our water.
If you’re a customer of the Crescenta Valley Water District as I am, we’re reaching a critical period in our long dry history. Although we get over half of our water from wells locally, we share this aquifer with Glendale, and they are stepping up to the pump (pun intended) to take their full share. A recent test well at Rockhaven Sanitarium hit water big time for Glendale, and they’ll soon have a producing wellhead there. (For anyone still complaining about Glendale buying Rockhaven, it just paid for itself!)
Our own wells are vulnerable to environmental factors. A couple of years ago we saw a producing well lost because of contamination from leaking gas station storage tanks.
We get the rest of our water at an incredibly high cost from the Metropolitan Water District, and they’re hurting bad, with permanent reductions from the Colorado River and the Sacramento Delta, and California officially declaring a state emergency over water availability and drought conditions. On a recent drive down Interstate 5 from Northern California, I passed hundreds of acres of abandoned orchards and dried up farms posted with signs damning the government for its water priorities. Too many demands on a finite resource!
It seems it’s a dismal future for water and only the brightest minds will figure a way through this mess. And that’s why this upcoming election for the board of directors for the CV Water District is perhaps the most important local election in a long time. The five member board of directors sets policy for the CVWD. How we react to this crisis depends on this largely volunteer group of local residents.
Are you on water rationing? That was decided by the CVWD board. Have your bills increased? CVWD board again. On the up side, did we have plenty of water available to fight the recent fires? Thanks, CVWD board! Did you get a senior discount on your water bill, or a major rebate for yanking out your lawn? Good decision, CVWD board! And what’s to be decided in the future? Novel ways of replenishing our groundwater, paying for a reclaimed water system for irrigation, disaster recovery plans, and balancing development needs against diminishing supplies are just a few of the easier challenges.
As you can see, this group, largely unsung and with little reward, makes some incredibly hard choices. And with trouble looming on the horizon, wanting to be on this board is somewhat akin to wanting to take the helm of the Titanic just as the iceberg is sighted. And yet people are lining up for this job! We have an upcoming election for three spots on the board, and six contenders vying for election. Brave souls all, and seemingly with no other motive than to help our community make it successfully through some troubled times.
Like most of you, I’ve been ignoring these elections for years now. But that luxury is over and we have no choice but to pay attention to this particular race. So let’s say I’ve talked you into voting in the CVWD election. When is it, and how do you figure out who to vote for?
The election itself will be on Nov. 3, and will be handled just like a regular election. Notices will come in the mail telling you where to vote.
Who should you vote for? Pay attention to the pages of this paper, as they’ll be covering the candidates in future issues. A great opportunity to see them in person will be at a candidate forum being held at the Dunsmore Park community room on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. You can sit back and watch the candidates field questions that will test their knowledge of this complex issue.
So it really isn’t that hard to get involved here. No excuses. And remember, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. Well, not to me anyway.
Mike Lawler is the president of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley