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April 23, 2021

The fate of SLVWD is in your hands

By Bob Fultz

The proposed consolidation of the Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley Water Districts (SLVWD) has generated a lot of excellent comments and questions from our community, particularly at the SLVWD Board meeting held on Feb. 4 and attended by almost 100 SLVWD residents. 

As a current SLVWD Director, I’m speaking for myself in this letter—I’m not speaking on behalf of the management or Board or any other Director of the SLVWD.

As a result of that meeting and follow-up articles in social and print media, I want to ask for everyone’s help as we consider this proposal. I’d like to encourage you to think of yourself as an owner of the SLVWD—because you are. The 18,000-plus registered voters and almost 24,000 residents who are served by the SLVWD are, in fact, all collective owners of this public agency. When you see yourself as an owner, I think it changes the perspective from which you approach our future and our finances. I know it does for me.

When we think of ourselves as owners, we think strategically and long-term with a goal to ensure the continuity and success of our local water district. As owners, we think about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with not only this consolidation proposal but the possible actions other water districts may undertake as a result of this process.  And, as owners, we think about what it means to be a no-growth area bordered by cities (Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz) that appear to be growing rapidly and facing their own fiscal challenges.  And, as owners, we think about how state law and our local Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency affects our water use and environmental stewardship.

Finally, as owners, we think about what is in the best interests of our community.  

These can be difficult topics to consider but, as owners of SLVWD, it is our responsibility to think about them, ask questions, demand answers (and data) and use all of the information available to make decisions about the best path forward. Because the decisions we make today affect not only ourselves but also our children and grandchildren.

Based on the recent article in the Press Banner, it appears that your SLVWD Board will be discussing this consolidation question again on Mar. 4. The public meeting starts at 6:30pm. It’s a virtual meeting via Zoom so if you can attend please do so. It’s critical. And please come with your owner’s perspective.

Bob Fultz is a member of the SLVWD Board of Directors. His views are his own and necessarily those of the Press Banner.