West Basin Water News | Winter 2019

West Basin Director Gloria D. Gray sworn in as Chairwoman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

More than 300 elected officials, community leaders, water agency representatives, friends, and family joined West Basin Division II Director Gloria D. Gray as she was sworn in on Tuesday, Jan. 8 as the new chairwoman of the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors.

As chairwoman, Gray is the first African American to lead the 38-member board and only the second woman to do so in the district’s 90-year history.

The historic event was attended by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, both of whom spoke at the ceremony. Inglewood Mayor James Butts held the honor of officially swearing in Gray as chairwoman of the board.

“Here in Los Angeles, we don’t just mark history, we make history. Who you are and what you are the embodiment of as chairwoman (are) the defining characteristics of this town, of Southern California itself. We are a place where freedom, where innovation and where belonging all live,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Today Gloria Gray puts herself in that book of American history, in that book of Los Angeles and Southern California history.”

After thanking outgoing Chairman Randy Record for his service, Gray detailed her vision for Metropolitan as chairwoman.

“If the past few years of drought-to-flood water cycles have taught us anything, it’s that we must maintain and expand (local) investments to prepare this region for the dual impacts of growth and climate change. We need to make our shared vision for a more sustainable future a reality. And we must make sure that each community we serve benefits from that commitment,” said Gray.

As Metropolitan’s chairwoman, Gray will represent district policies and programs at the national, state and local levels. She also will preside over monthly meetings of the board and its executive committee and is tasked with appointing board vice chairs and committee members.

West Basin Board of Directors installs re-elected officials; announces officers for 2019

The District hosted an installation ceremony celebrating the re-election of three West Basin directors on Friday, Jan. 25 at the Carson Community Center. More than 200 members of the community joined the re-elected Directors, Harold Williams of Division I, Gloria D. Gray of Division II and Scott Houston of Division IV in a public swearing-in ceremony.

Guests included various elected officials from across the 17 cities and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County that the District serves. Other guests such as Senator Steven Bradford as well as representatives from the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Assemblyman Mike Gipson, and Senator Ben Allen were also in attendance.

The following Monday, January 28, at its regularly scheduled board meeting, the West Basin Municipal Water District board of directors elected Scott Houston to serve as its board president and Gloria D. Gray to serve as its board vice president for 2019. Directors Harold Williams and Carol W. Kwan were named board treasurer and board secretary respectively, and Director Donald L. Dear was named immediate past president.

“As a board, we will continue to focus our efforts on water conservation, community education and outreach, and increasing the use of recycled water throughout our service area. West Basin remains dedicated to protecting our existing water supplies while also securing local, drought-resilient resources that ensure future water reliability to the communities we serve,” said President Houston.

West Basin’s board re-organization occurs annually at its January board meeting. The president of the board will facilitate the appointment of committees and assignment of representatives to affiliate organizations, and shall have the primary responsibility for interpreting the policies, programs and needs of the District to the public. For more information on West Basin’s board, please visit http://www.westbasin.org/board-directors. For photos of the installation ceremony, visit http://www.westbasin.org/2019-installation-photos.

District encourages small and local business participation

The District’s Board of Directors adopted an expanded Small and Local Business Enterprise Program policy in 2018, designed to expand the definition of a local business enterprise (LBE) and more clearly define a small business enterprise (SBE). The updated policy works to reduce community barriers for small and local business participation in District solicitations.

The District policy now identifies a LBE as a business located within the District’s service area or within 25 miles from the District’s Carson headquarters for a minimum of one year. The previous policy only allowed for businesses within the District’s service area to be considered local.

The policy was also updated to recognize small businesses. Firms that meet the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) standards or the SBE standards set by the California Department of General Services are now able to receive the same incentives as local businesses. In addition, the District will accept a firm’s self-certification of any local agency within the State of California.

To be considered a LBE or SBE, interested firms must register with the District’s online solicitation system, The Network. By registering on The Network, businesses will also be notified via e-mail each time they match a solicitation posted by the District.

Learn about local water issues during lunch hosted by West Basin

The District’s free Lunch & Learn classes return, offering members of the community the chance to hear about local water issues during an informative lunch hosted by a West Basin expert.

The 2019 event series will take place on the second Friday of each month from February through September at the District’s headquarters in Carson, Calif. Each class will be devoted to one of four topics: imported water, water recycling, water use efficiency or desalination. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about how the District is securing reliable water supplies for our future, as well as the various other resources that the District has available for the members of the communities it serves.

The first class took place on Friday, Feb. 8 at 12:30 p.m. at the West Basin Donald L. Dear Building located at 17140 S. Avalon Blvd., Carson, CA 90746. Free parking is provided onsite. Space is limited. Registration is required and accepted on a first come, first served basis for all upcoming events.

For the full list of dates, topic details and to RSVP for an upcoming Lunch & Learn class, please visit www.westbasin.org/lunchandlearn. Questions or requests for additional information can be emailed to info@westbasin.org.

Scholarships available for District students

This year there are more than $30,000 in scholarship awards available to California students studying water, with awards ranging from $3,500 to $10,000!

As a member of the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), West Basin is able to share these ACWA scholarship opportunities for high-achieving graduate or undergraduate students majoring in a water resources-related field. The deadline for submission is March 1, 2019.

To learn more and apply, please visit www.acwa.com/about/scholarships.

“Water is Life” Art Contest

West Basin kicks off its call for entries for the annual “Water Is Life” student art contest. Last year more than 530 students in the West Basin service area submitted artwork for consideration, and two West Basin students created artwork that was featured in the Metropolitan Water District’s annual calendar.

To support our student artists, the West Basin Art Lab is available as a resource for service area teachers. A West Basin science and art instructor can visit 3rd – 12th grade classrooms to help inform students about water resources and conservation, and then help students create artwork that conveys the lessons learned. Find out more about the art contest and art lab here: http://www.westbasin.org/community-education/water-life-traveling-art-lab-student-art-contest. Submission deadline is Friday, March 15, 2019

2018 Water Harvest Festival Highlights

Nearly 1,100 attendees joined West Basin at the 20th annual Water Harvest festival on Saturday, Oct. 20. Festivities included free food and fun for the family, as well as a grand prize giveaway of a new high-efficiency washer and dryer.

During the event, the West Basin board of directors celebrated local businesses and individuals who have made a significant impact through their commitment to water reliability during an awards ceremony at the event. Each of West Basin’s five elected officials chose an awards recipient within their division.

The 2018 Water Reliability Award winners include: Division I – Palos Verdes Peninsula Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Eileen Hupp; Division II – City of Inglewood Public Works director Louis Atwell; Division III – Craig Cadwallader of the Surfrider Foundation, South Bay Chapter; Division IV – Cathi Vargas, environmental coordinator, City of Culver City; and Division V – Hawthorne resident Dr. Kiran R. Magiawala.

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