Dear Community,

Crescenta Valley Water District’s Board of Directors is deferring rate increases this year for both the water and wastewater utilities. The District recently conducted a public opinion survey and is delaying rate increases after considering concerns within the community about utility rates.

While future increases will be necessary to keep pace with growing costs, CVWD is committed to keeping costs as low as possible. We continue to pursue efficiencies such as evaluating in-house pipeline infrastructure replacement, completing in-house designs of smaller-scale construction jobs and shifting hiring from full-time to contract work, which allows us to accelerate initiatives and then ramp down without longer-term obligations.

Still, costs outside of our control continue to grow. Southern California’s wholesale water agency, Metropolitan Water District, is considering multiple years of double-digit increases for the cost of water, including a 17% increase for the upcoming year. We are continuing to see high double-digit increases for multiple consecutive years from the City of Los Angeles for the cost of treating our wastewater collections. We are seeing neighboring agencies experiencing historic rate increases of 15% or more each year over the next five years, reflecting regional trends in infrastructure needs, regulatory compliance and resource availability.

The survey mentioned earlier also signaled that the community continues to be particularly interested in grants, pursuing stormwater capture, building partnerships and working with non-profits that benefit the community. Last month, we shared that we had been awarded two grants and are going after two more grants. Recently, we have committed to pursuing another grant, this time in partnership with Foothill Municipal Water. We continue to build a broad spectrum of partnerships from neighboring utilities and fellow first responders to non-profits like the Friends of the Rosemont Preserve (as part of the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy). This is how we balance maximizing federal, state and local dollars while doing our part to be stewards of the community.

We also learned through the survey that there is a need for more awareness of water and wastewater services provided and we are committed to engaging with our customers. Join us on Wednesday, April 17 at 5:30 p.m. for our quarterly Office Hours at the La Crescenta Library (details in customers’ bill insert and email inbox). These are opportunities to learn and share feedback and ideas with our dedicated staff and board members. Each quarter will feature a short presentation and this time we’ll look at our approach to pipeline investments, from the need for them and the criteria for prioritizing projects to the successes and process improvements along the way.

To close, anybody who calls our area their home understands that this community has a special “ethos.” Given this, it seems suitable to share a glimpse of our organization’s inner workings. We recently refreshed our company values and they are captured by the acronym “S-E-R-V-E,” reflecting how keenly we understand our commission as a public agency, chartered by the State of California, to provide essential services for life, health and emergency preparedness. Our purpose begins and ends with public servanthood. To quote a few excerpts from our values statement: “Water is essential to life and everything we do is built upon deep trust with the people we serve. Our level of stewardship is delivered from our daily care and effort … Have humility and pride and carry yourself with professionalism … Each of us is responsible for ourselves, each other and the community. Providing water is a public service. We are servants to our customers and each other …”

Thank you for taking the time to read and for continuing the dialogue.

James Lee, General Manager