Are We Prepared for the Mega-Drought?

Are We Prepared for the Mega-Drought?
Sanjay Gaur’s life passion has been the management of water resources for both human use and the environment.
Southern California is an idyllic place to live with perfect weather, beautiful scenery, rich cultural history, and a growing population of over 23 million. However, Southern California is also lacking the very thing required to sustain any population: water! With well-manicured golf courses, sprawling communities of lush green lawns, and the Pacific Ocean next door, this may be hard to believe. However, if Southern California were to sustain itself without importing any water, the population would have to be less than 500,000. How can Southern California sustain a population of 23 million (and growing) with enough water for only 500,000? The answer is a vast system of aqueducts that deliver billions of gallons of water annually from hundreds of miles away. These aqueducts rely on snow pack in the Sierra and Colorado mountain ranges as their primary water source. Snow pack levels in the Sierras have been falling for years, coinciding with ongoing drought conditions around the state. We were always able to depend on the reliability of the Colorado River Aqueduct to make up the difference. But as we look to the future, even this historically reliable water supply is being threatened. With each of our major water sources under duress, Southern California is heading for a mega-drought that may take decades to recover from if not longer. These challenging times will require deft leadership from elected officials who understand these complex water issues. We need to elect passionate, water-focused leaders who are committed to overcoming the status quo with innovative and forward-thinking solutions. Two of the principal government agencies responsible for delivering and managing our imported water are Metropolitan Water District and West Basin Municipal Water District. West Basin has five board members, each elected from a specific geographic region within its service area. During these troubling times for the water industry, West Basin’s elected leaders have shown equally troubling judgement: The District spent over $65 million dollars evaluating a large-scale desalination project, ultimately deciding not to proceed. That is $65,000,000 of our money wasted! The Board also hired a General Manager who was lacking the usual credentials for such a prestigious and highly compensated position. The nationally esteemed recruiting firm they hired to assist with the hiring process did not even select this individual for an interview. While this individual is no longer employed by the District, he created such a toxic work environment during his tenure that 30% of the most qualified staff left. As we enter an unprecedented mega-drought, the last thing we need is for our most experienced water professionals to be leaving West Basin. My name is Sanjay Gaur and I can do better. Since 1994, my life’s passion has been the management of water resources for both human use and the environment. I have two Master’s degrees in Applied Resource Economics from UC Santa Cruz and Master of Public Administration from Harvard. I have been a financial and rate consultant for over 100 water agencies around California. As a professional rate consultant, I work daily to come up with solutions to challenging water problems that are fiscally responsible, socially acceptable, and environmentally conscious. I hope you will consider me on November 8th for the West Basin Municipal Water District Board of Directors, Division 4. If you would like to learn more about my plan to navigate these uncharted times, please visit my website and follow me on social media. It would be my honor to serve you in these uncharted times. Editor’s Note: West Basin Municipal Water District serves Topanga. This is a courtesy to Mr. Gupta but not an endorsement by The Canyon Chronicle, whose policy is not to endorse candidates, but will provide a platform for them to state their position.

October 28, 2022