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Letter to WLRev Readers from LVMWD Board Members

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Synopsis

Last weekend, Westlake Revelations readers began writing letters into the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District by the dozen about the concept of a "Group Think Fund" (see http://www.westlakerevelations.com/2013/06/02/editorial-new-idea-about-w...).

Many readers have received a response from LVMWD's General Manager. While the letter from the GM may represent some members of the board, the elected LVMWD Directors for most Westlake Revelations readers (those living in Westlake Village and Agoura Hills) have a different view.

Directors Len Polan and Barry Steinhardt have penned the below letter and asked we send it to all Westlake Revelations readers as a way to respond to everyone. Their (unedited) letter includes not only their view of the proposed tank but gives guidance to what you may want to do to support or opposed the proposed tank project.

You should consider their response an editorial.

Full Letter

From: Len Polan, Director, division 4, LVMWD and
Barry Steinhardt, Director, division 5, LVMWD

June 6, 2013

Re: Westlake Revelations Editorial

Dear Las Virgenes Municipal Water Ratepayers and Westlake Revelations Readers,

Very recently, your Board of Directors received many emails regarding the proposed 5 million gallon tank project at the reservoir in Three Springs. We would like to answer each and every one of you personally, but as you might imagine, the amount of emails were far too numerous. To the point, we hear you loud and clear. To do what you are asking, we need your help since two board members cannot change policy on their own – it takes three or more.

Your emails clearly said the District needs to be open minded in seeking other alternatives for this water tank project. We question the need for the tank at all, and we wholeheartedly support a program or process that encourages us to think of better ways to solve the issues at hand, as many of you suggested.

As it has been explained to us, we need a number of bad things to happen simultaneously for the tank to be critically relevant. The alleged need for the tank is if the following scenario happens: Metropolitan Water District shuts our water supply off, on the hottest day of the year (most water consumption) as well as having enough fire reserves to handle mulitiple simultaneous major fires in our area. (Please take note that we are not talking wild fires as those are handled differently). This scenario, with all three taking place at the same time, has never happened in our District, and the chances of this happening are slim to none.

Additionally, there are water line connections with DWP and Calleguas Water that we may be able to utilize for emergency potable (drinkable) water. But let’s not forget that we also have a reservoir that holds 5 billion gallons of water! That reservoir is located within feet of the proposed water tank.

Thinking outside of the box, the reservoir can be used for our emergency water needs and eliminate any need for the tank. Yes, reservoir water was filtered before it was put into the reservoir but would need filtration again in our plant adjacent to the reservoir. And yes, it’s true it could take about 8 hours to get the filtering plant up and running, however, the District runs that plant periodically during the summer months, again the time of most need, and the need for the tank.

If we ever thought that we might have an emergency need for the water, that plant could be started up right away. In the worst case scenario, we can use the water immediately but may have to put out a "boil water order". This is the same type of order that was in effect, in the affected portion of LVMWD's service area, during the Northridge earthquake.

Other suggestions have been to put irrigation controls on our individual water supply in the event that we needed the water immediately for ongoing fires, (this would only be for landscaping and not inside our household). Various water conservation devices could be utilized now so that we would never be in this situation at all. The list goes on and on….

The bottom line is that we need to be open to other ideas and thoughts and your emails clearly voice the concerns. If we thought for one moment that we need this tank and there were no alternatives, then we would support this project. But we don’t.

Don’t forget: this tank will now cost just shy of $9 million dollars. Money that could cover all rate increases for as much as the next 5 years.

We suggest that you come to the open house this Saturday at the reservoir and voice your opinions. And, if you cannot make it this weekend, then come to the Board Meeting next Tue and speak your mind. At a minimum, drop us an email with your thoughts -- but unless you speak up, we won’t convince a third Board Member to support what you want.

Best wishes,

Len Polan lpolan@lvmwd.com and
Barry Steinhardt bsteinhardt@lvmwd.com