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“Here Now!” Montecito Water District’s 5-Year Strategic Plan and “There When You Need It,” Drinking Water Week, May 1-7, 2022

Drinking Water Week 2022

“There When You Need It,” the theme of this year’s National Drinking Water Week, is apropos for Montecito Water District—currently celebrating its 100th Year of reliable water service.

Drinking Water Week 2022, celebrated May 1-7, also times well with the publication of Montecito Water District’s 5-Year Strategic Plan. Developed over the past year with staff, Board and public input, the 2022 Strategic Plan provides a general overview and historic highlights for Montecito Water District, while also detailing the District’s immediate goals and objectives.

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“We’ve made tremendous headway towards drought resilience in the past six years,” says Nick Turner, General Manager “and this Strategic Plan lays the groundwork for the coming five years – and longer. We’re excited to keep building on the solid progress the District has made on the supply side of the equation. On the demand side responsibility rests largely with the community, and we’re committed to finding new ways to support and encourage water efficiency. It’s our hope that this Plan will both inform customers and inspire their partnership as stewards of this most precious resource. “

Water purveyors across the country are commemorating Drinking Water Week by encouraging consumers to learn more about the importance of water services and water infrastructure, and to make or renew their commitment to using water wisely. The week is intended to recognize the vital role tap water plays in daily life, the infrastructure that is required to carry it to and from homes and businesses, and the critical work that water professionals accomplish around the clock to ensure the delivery of quality tap water. In tune with this, Montecito Water District’s 2022 Strategic Plan is neatly presented in an illustrated booklet designed to help customers understand more about where their water comes from, current challenges to water supply reliability, and the solutions being explored.

“We’ve built a good track record telling the public what we are going to do and then getting it done,” says Brian Goebel, one of the five local publicly elected Directors serving on the Board. “The 50-year Water Supply Agreement that partners us with the City of Santa Barbara for Desalination and Groundwater Banking—which helps protect our substantial investment in the State Water Project, are two prime examples of MWD’s recent achievements. The projects laid out in this Plan are deemed essential for the security of our community’s water supply, and it is important to take the time needed to do them right. More complicated initiatives such as water recycling involve new infrastructure, multiple agencies, and may be eligible for State and Federal funding. These types of projects don’t happen on their own or overnight – they require sustained commitment. Our goals are set, transparent, and we have every intention of finding the best solutions possible for the challenges we are facing.”

The Plan identifies four goals: Water Supply Reliability, Infrastructure Dependability, Operational Excellence, and Water Policy Inclusion, and provides specific planned projects with timelines for each. With a list including Managing Demands—also described as Building Community Partnership in Conservation, Water Recycling, and the exploration of District consolidation, all are highly relevant to the community.

“While some community members are up to speed on these issues, others may not be,” says Tobe Plough, Board President. “The District is first and foremost a source and purveyor of water, yet it is also essential that we provide accurate information about all of our activities. We hope this Plan sends the clear message that Montecito Water District is here to serve the public. We invite people to communicate directly with staff and Board members about any questions, concerns, or ideas they may have.”

The 2022 5-Year Strategic Plan is available online at montecitowater.com and customers are invited to pick up a printed copy at the office at 583 San Ysidro Road during regular business hours (8-12 and 1-5, Monday through Friday). Shared public copies are also available at the Montecito Library. Whether online or in-hand, you can get your copy in plenty of time for Drinking Water Week, and pair the reading with a nice tall glass of water!

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Montecito Water District’s mission is to provide an adequate and reliable supply of high quality water to the residents of Montecito and Summerland, at the most reasonable cost. In carrying out this mission, the District places particular emphasis on providing outstanding customer service, conducting its operations in an environmentally sensitive manner, and working cooperatively with other agencies. For additional information visit montecitowater.com, like Montecito Water District on Facebook, and follow on twitter @MontecitoWater.