SCV Water maps out a course after two-day strategy session

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SCV Water officials are blazing a course hammered out during a recent two-day, strategy-setting retreat.

Transparent and “plain language” communication with customers were among the goals identified by SCV Water’s Board of Directors at the recent planning workshop.

Directors and management staff looked back on key accomplishments from the first year as a regional water agency; they then turned their focus to the next five years.

The think tank session marked the first integrated strategic plan since the former Castaic Lake Water Agency, Newhall County Water District, Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company came together as SCV Water on Jan. 1, 2018.

“The development of the first integrated strategic plan has been a whole agency undertaking,” said Matt Stone, SCV Water general manager.

“The process started back in September 2018, gathering information from staff, management and the Board of Directors,” he said. “The process has been helpful to determine where we are as an agency and where we want to go.”

A large part of the workshop focused on what a best-in-class agency looks like. Another exercise helped identify the key goals and objectives for the agency for the next five years.

While a previous goal lumped water systems and water-supply reliability together, these were separated out at the workshop, noting that each is a distinct and critical piece of serving the community.

“As a regional water agency, we can now work to operate and maintain our water systems

cohesively,” said Keith Abercrombie, chief operating officer of SCV Water. “Our proactive approach to water systems reliability will allow us to plan ahead for emergencies, standardize maintenance practices, implement security improvements and repair and replace equipment and facilities, as necessary.”

Regional water resource management will also enhance water supply reliability in the Santa Clarita Valley.

This strategy allows a unified approach to water-supply programs, including managing local groundwater resources, and increasing the availability of other water supplies, such as recycled water, according to water officials.

SCV Water also continues to support the CA WaterFix, a project and is expected to improve the sustainability of California’s aging water system and protect the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystems.

The programs reflect a diverse portfolio that promises to ensure SCV has a reliable water supply.

“There is one watershed, one river and now, one agency, to provide management of this critical resource in an effective and transparent manner,” stated Dirk Marks, director of water resources for SCV Water.

The six goals the Board identified at the Strategic Plan public workshop were:

  • infrastructure reliability – implement, operate, and maintain water infrastructure to ensure sustainable water service provision.
  • water supply reliability – Implement water supply programs to ensure the service area has reliable supplies of water.
  • customer/community — implement policies supporting the social, quality of life and environmental values of the community.
  • water quality — protect the quality of our water supplies and ensure our drinking water meets or surpasses all water quality requirements.
  • cost-effectiveness — maintain a long-range, open, stable and well-planned financial condition, resulting in current and future water users receiving fair and equitable rates and charges.
  • organizational effectiveness — maintain a well-defined organizational structure that fosters innovation, integrity, leadership, professionalism, respect, safety and teamwork.

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