Maria Gutzeit and BJ Atkins | Good News About Your Water

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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This pandemic is top of mind for most of us today, but this just adds to what seems to be an ever-growing list of concerns. We have good news! You don’t need to worry about the water here in Santa Clarita.

SCV Water was formed almost three years ago, when Senate Bill 634, authored by Sen. Scott Wilk, was enacted. This restructured water governance in this valley. Four smaller agencies combined into one, creating the new SCV Water Agency. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of big changes. Good changes. 

At first, it was thought we could save $14 million over the first 10 years. Good news: Adopted budgets show a savings of nearly $20 million over only the first three years! This is due to tremendous efficiencies and elimination of duplicate equipment and activities, yet was done without any staff layoffs. Eliminating four sets of accounting systems and replacing them with one is a HUGE savings of time and money. It is a big deal for an agency with a budget of $177 million annually

Previously, with four agencies, the terms of any regional project were debated by many and had to go through several levels of approval. Now we act as one. This has enabled quick and decisive action in case of threats to our water supply. We just cut the ribbon for a brand new treatment plant near the Hart Pony baseball fields to remove PFAS and PFOA from our water, even before a state health standard has been set. We are seeking additional payments for our community from the historic Whittaker-Bermite contamination. SCV Water continues to prevent and aggressively treat any threats to our water supply. It is our mission and our pledge, to always deliver drinking water that meets health standards.

It’s been a hot summer! You could be concerned about how reliable our water supply might be. Good news: Water supplies are so well planned, the SCV Water service area has never run short, even in the worst of drought.

SCV Water got terrific support from customers when the governor mandated conservation statewide and SCV Water continues to meet regulatory targets for water efficiency. SCV Water’s top-notch staff plans for 95% reliability even in a multi-year drought. Climate change is accounted for in our models. As mandated, SCV Water does its job and plans water supplies for the next 50 years, based on population projections from the city and county. Those plans are updated every five years.

How does this reliability happen? By building relationships with other water agencies across the state. When we have excess water, we store it in water banks, literally like a savings account for water. When there is an emergency or problem, we can withdraw this water. SCV Water has developed a diverse water supply. We have good local groundwater and water from other geographic areas, including the State Water Project. Not many communities can claim such a diverse water supply portfolio. You, our customers, have invested in this reliability and it is there for you. New recycled water infrastructure is being built across our valley. Rebates are available for lawn replacements, efficient toilets and more.

SCV Water staff have all been busy, adopting a brand new, more efficient way of doing things. We are very proud of the more than 200 SCV Water employees who have stepped up to the challenge. There probably have been some glitches behind the scenes, but they never let us see it. Maintaining top-notch water and customer service remains the primary goal. 

These are tumultuous times. Many families have faced hardship with the COVID crisis. For them, we were able to delay water payments and prevent shutoffs. But every family is facing challenges. With health challenges, economic and logistics issues, caring for kids and their remote learning, caring for seniors and health-compromised individuals, we have a lot on our plates. We live here, in the community, and we get it. We don’t make water partisan or political. We simply serve safe, reliable water at the lowest reasonable price. We wanted you to know: Water is one thing you don’t need to worry about.

Maria Gutzeit, Vice President

BJ Atkins, Member

SCV Water Agency board

Santa Clarita

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