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Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at annual event
The Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) held its annual State of the District Address on Oct. 25, 2012 to a standing-room-only crowd of approximately 300 guests.
WRD Board President Albert Robles and WRD General Manager Robb Whitaker presented the accomplishments the district has achieved over the past year to elected officials, water industry advocates, environmental leaders and members of the public. Water programs and engineering projects are enabling WRD to increase locally sustainable groundwater supplies and moving the district closer to completely eliminating the demand for expensive water that must be imported from the Colorado River and the environmentally sensitive Bay Delta to keep local groundwater basins at sustainable levels.
"WRD experienced a fantastic year of accomplishments that included legislative success affirming our lead role as the region's groundwater manager; implementation of programs that have increased water self-reliance; an historic labor agreement; and above all, avoiding water rate increases for our stakeholders," said Board President Robles. "And we were especially honored to be recognized by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom who noted WRD's priority on water self-reliance as a leading example on how to develop local solutions to a big challenge and not waiting around for someone else to fix it."
In his remarks to a crowd of supporters following President Robles' address, Lt. Governor Newsom began his remarks by telling the audience, "I was trying to figure out where the heck I was because we're definitely not in Sacramento after hearing a speech like that." He went on to note that WRD's groundbreaking water reuse efforts were a "devotion to an extraordinary cause and vision that goes back to a time when California was in the 'future' business." Newsom explained that the state has been talking about a comprehensive solution for water for his entire life but that "we're stuck in an old mindset where we're still fighting yesterday's battles. Meanwhile, WRD is stepping up, and stepping in and solving problems."
The event also marked WRD's 50th Anniversary of recycled water use for groundwater recharge. This celebration honored WRD's pioneering efforts that have allowed the agency to increase groundwater supplies with recycled water amid the ever-increasing costs associated with diverting water from outside the region, a major contributor of increased costs to ratepayers.
Consistent with WRD's commitment to environmental sustainability, the U.S. Green Building Council was also present to award WRD the LEED Gold Certification for its Lakewood headquarters building. The designation makes the District one of a handful of statewide water agencies to achieve this level of green building recognition.