WATSONVILLE — Next year will mark 40 years of the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency. In anticipation of the agency’s ruby anniversary, it has launched its Strategic Plan 2024+, which highlights the plans, goals and vision of the organization moving forward.
The 18-page document outlines the history of the agency, its mission, vision and values and provides in-depth goals. The first goal is to operate and maintain a reliable water supply through facilities and infrastructure by developing and implementing a Health and Safety Plan for all of Pajaro Valley Water’s projects, collaborating with partners to improve operational efficiencies, strengthening the partnership between the agency and city of Watsonville and developing and implementing a Condition Assessment, Vulnerability Assessment and Asset Management Plan.
Another goal is to promote Pajaro Valley Water through advocacy and policy by engaging local elected officials to benefit Pajaro Valley Water’s priorities, working with federal and state policymakers, collaborating with other agencies to address state and federal mandates and continuing to collaborate with flood management agencies such as the Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency to identify multi-benefit opportunities.
Other goals include strengthening customs service through improving accessibility on its website to create more real-time customer knowledge of water usage for decision-making, developing a recruitment and retention plan to anticipate planned vacancies in the board and staffing, and developing a Communication and Engagement Plan that would identify priority documents to be translated as needed and requested, develop a multimedia strategy to reach businesses and the public and identify all events with opportunities to engage the community.
“We are excited to continue engaging PV Water’s partnerships and community so we may, together, improve our position and create opportunities for our economy, environment, and way of life for our collective future,” General Manager Brian Lockwood wrote in a statement.
The agency was formed as a result of Bulletin 118-80, which was issued by the California Department of Water Resources in 1980 after identifying the Pajaro Valley as one of 11 basins in the state with critical conditions of overdraft. After voters approved the creation of a single agency to manage the groundwater basin in the 1984 general election, the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency was formed. Over the years, it has instated a well metering program, established a recharge facility for Harkins Slough, constructed a recycled water facility and started a recharge net metering program.
The agency’s current major project is the construction of a new pump station, water treatment plant and 6-mile pipeline at College Lake, allowing treated water to travel to more than 5,500 acres of farmland throughout the region. The project received a $7.6 million grant from the California Department of Water Resources last year and an $8.9 million block grant from the California Department of Conservation. Ground was broken on the site along Holohan Road in June, and current pipeline construction is taking place along Lakeside, Judd and Riverside roads. The construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.