Issue 4 | January 2, 2020
Big-time project, big-time promise
A Joshua Tree sits high above the Amethyst Basin Project, a collaborative effort spanning multiple agencies. This joint-use project allows for groundwater recharge in the Victorville area and is designed to significantly mitigate issues of flooding through the Oro Grande Wash.
In 2019, Agency guides two major projects
to fruition
Highlighted by the completion of two major projects, Mojave Water Agency (MWA) will ascend into the new decade following a year of infrastructural growth and expansion. Here are a few reasons why 2019 turned out to be a monumental year for the Agency:

Hydroelectric System: Among the year's biggest accomplishments was the realization of its newly installed hydroelectric system, a project the Agency began conceptualizing in the early '90s.

The $4.3 million, clean-energy system is designed to take advantage of water being delivered from the California Aqueduct to the groundwater basin in the Victor Valley area by converting existing pressure into electrical energy. The system has brought MWA close to attaining a net-neutral status in its energy consumption — a byproduct that will save the Agency millions of dollars over the next 30 years and provide numerous environmental benefits.
Amethyst Basin Project: In June, MWA, the City of Victorville, and the San Bernardino County Flood Control District held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Amethyst Basin Project.

Designed to handle a 100-year storm, the basin — located west of Interstate 15 and south of Bear Valley Road — captures peak storm flows and releases them at a manageable rate to protect property and road crossings downstream of the basin. In addition to mitigating future flooding issues, the project also allows for MWA to recharge imported water into local groundwater basins with the installation of interior dikes.

"The Amethyst Basin Project is an important flood control facility for this area, but it also serves as a groundwater recharge basin right here in Victorville adding to the region's sustainability," former MWA Board President Carl Coleman said. "The execution of this effort was like a relay race with each entity handing off the baton. It's this kind of collaboration that yields great results."
"Perfect" Audit: MWA's commitment to full transparency and responsible spending was on full display when the Agency recently received a “perfect audit” result for the 2018-19 fiscal year — the third consecutive year the Agency has attained such marks during the annual review of its financial records.

This lofty achievement comes months after the Agency was distinguished with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) earlier this year.

Grant Funding: MWA received approximately $500,000 in total grant funding from the United States Bureau of Reclamation in 2019, $300,000 of which is earmarked to extend the reach of the Agency's R-Cubed Project to Adelanto. The remainder will be used to develop a water marketing strategy for a groundwater banking program.
Emergency Relief in Trona: Following two massive earthquakes in July that wreaked havoc in the Ridgecrest area, MWA deployed a team of its operators to help restore water to a shaken community. Over the course of three days, the Agency’s relief team worked 12- to 18-hour days in less than ideal working conditions repairing 14-inch steel mains, excavating earth riddled with boulders, and chasing leaks where the source was unknown.

“(The crew) was always willing to go the extra mile and didn’t complain once,” Superintendent of Operations Mike Simpson said. “They were great to work with and they understood what was at stake.

“I’m really proud of my team, including those who stayed back and monitored the Agency’s system. It was nice to know we made an impact in people’s lives. It’s a great feeling.”
Thurston ‘Smitty’ Smith Named Next MWA
Board President
APPLE VALLEY, CA — Two longtime High Desert residents will head Mojave Water Agency’s (MWA) Board of Directors in 2020 after a Thursday vote that named Thurston “Smitty” Smith as Board President, and Jim Ventura as Vice President.

The decision to promote Director Smith to Board President at a recent Board of Director’s meeting was unanimous amongst the Agency’s seven-member Board and comes on the heels of his service as Vice President in 2019.

Smith was initially elected to MWA’s Board in 2016 and represents Division 7 of the Agency’s service area, which encompasses parts of Hesperia and Apple Valley.

Prior to his run on MWA’s Board, Smith served two continuous terms on the Hesperia City Council. Over the course of more than two decades of public service, Smith has held leadership positions with the County of San Bernardino Treasury Oversight Committee and Desert Valley Hospital Board of Directors. He also chairs the annual Victor Valley Bicycle Tour.

Additionally, Smith has served on the Board of Directors for Hesperia American Little League where his two sons played baseball, and the Hesperia Recreation and Park District Board of Directors.

Appointed to the Agency’s Board in 2000 as the representative of Division 2, Ventura will now assume the role as Vice President. Ventura has lived in Joshua Tree since 1980 and enjoyed a long career with Southern California Edison that spanned 32 years. Throughout the years, Ventura has been distinguished with many community awards for his work in the Morongo Basin that includes being inducted to the Copper Mountain College Community Leadership Hall of Fame and winning the Community Distinguished Citizenship Award.

The meeting also saw Jeanette Hayhurst, who was elected to the MWA Board in 2018 and represents Division 6, resume her role as Board Secretary, and Kimberly Cox, who served as Board President in 2018 and represents Division 1, take the reigns as Board Treasurer. 
Be on the lookout for the following events over the next few months:
TAC Meeting
• When: Feb. 6, 10 a.m. to noon
• Where: Mojave Water Agency, 13846 Conference Center Drive, Apple Valley

Innovators High Desert Water Summit
• When: Feb. 14, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Where: High Desert Church Victorville Campus, 14545 Hook Blvd., Victorville

ABC's of Water
• When: March 24, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
• Where: Mojave Water Agency, 13846 Conference Center Drive, Apple Valley
Informative events like Today in Water, pictured above, can be viewed on Mojave Water Agency's Facebook page.
Catch us live on Facebook!
Sometimes our events are just too good to see once! That's why Mojave Water Agency has been utilizing Facebook Live to broadcast many of our informative programs. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and check out future and past broadcasts that will allow you to interact with staff and attend events all from the comfort of your home. Also, be sure to check us out on Twitter!