New GM named as water heads pave the way for new water agency

Proposed districts if the consolidation of Castaic Lake Water Agency and the Newhall County Water District are finalized via legislation.

Water officials preparing for the New Year launch of Santa Clarita Valley’s brand new water agency got down to business Monday, defining its mission statement and naming as its General Manager Matt Stone, current GM of the Castaic Lake Water Agency.

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency goes into effect Jan. 1, 2018, so with less than two months left to lay down its foundation, Bob DiPrimio, president of the CLWA’s board of directors, called a special meeting Monday to firm up fundamental aspects of the agency.

“Since the Governor signed Senator Scott Wilk’s bill – SB 634 – in October, we realized that within a very short period of time, it was important to schedule a few meetings to ensure the logical and efficient start-up of this new Agency in January,” DiPrimio told The Signal Tuesday.

“There’s a great deal of work ahead of us,” he said. “I’m very pleased with the outcome of last night’s meeting.”

Monday’s special meeting, held jointly with members of the CLWA board and of the Newhall County Water District, was at the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant on Bouquet Canyon Road, overlooking Central Park.

“With less than two months until our first meeting, I appreciate both Boards willingness to meet and discuss important topics so that we can operate as an effective Board come Jan. 2, 2018,” DiPrimio said.

And, although decisions reached Monday about the new agency won’t go into effect until the new agency votes on them, members of both the CLWA and the Newhall County Water District covered a lot of ground.

“We have more work to complete this process but the discussion last night was a good start,” DiPrimio said.

“Both boards – CLWA and NCWD – are excited about our first meeting of Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency on Jan 2, 2018,” he said.

“Last night’s meeting had two important objectives,” he said. “The first objective was to begin a discussion of the vision and mission of SCVWater.”

DiPrimio’s reference to “SCVWater” is the newly formed agency, Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, which takes effect in January and will serve to manage both the wholesale and retail water needs of the valley.

“This is an important exercise for any organization to undertake but for our new Agency, it’s the first time the combined Boards discussed with each other our aspirations for SCVWater and the fundamental outcomes we want to achieve for the future,” DiPrimio said.

The second objective of Monday’s special meeting was to discuss and gain consensus on a few important business items that are required for action at the inaugural meeting in January.

DiPrimio called discussion at the meeting “very open and collaborative.”

The joint board agreed the SCV Water Agency would hold its meetings on the first and third Tuesday of every month, beginning each time at 6.30 p.m. at the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant.

It also agreed to designate Matt Stone as General Manager.

And as Newhall Water Company now becomes a part of the new water agency, it’s expected that the retailer’s existing General Manager, Steve Cole, will serve the new SCV Water Agency as an Assistant General Manager.

At Monday’s meeting, Stone presented the new functional organizational design for the agency which integrates the “extraordinary talent of each existing agency, including NCWD, CLWA, Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company” NCWD spokesman Steve Greyshock said in a news release issued Tuesday.

“I am excited to have such an array of talented and dedicated professionals coming together to pursue our goal of providing our customers with excellent service and reliable, safe and affordable water,” Stone said.

The joint board agreed to meet at least one more time before the new water agency goes into effect.

As of January, included in the new agency are CLWA, Newhall County Water District, Valencia Water Company and the Santa Clarita Water Division. The latter two water retailers are already under the CLWA umbrella.

“With the outstanding leadership of our executive management team and all of our wonderful professional employees, I am confident SCVWater will be able to provide outstanding first class water services for our community,” DiPrimio said.


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