BRENTWOOD, CALIF. - NOV. 8 : View of the spillway at the Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Brentwood, Calif., on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. The Contra Costa Water District is working with other Bay Area water agencies to expand the region's water supply, is moving forward with a $1 billion plan to significantly expand the reservoir by raising the height of its dam. Currently the dam is at 231 feet and plan to raise it to 287 feet. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

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It’s a critical time at the Contra Costa Water District.

The agency, which provides water for about 500,000 customers in Central and East County, is planning for the expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir, which could serve water districts throughout the Bay Area. And it’s preparing to replace its aging 22-mile main canal with a piped system.

View of the spillway at the Los Vaqueros Reservoir. Expansion of the reservoir near Brentwood is one of the key issues facing the Contra Costa Water District board. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

It’s all complicated by the challenges of the statewide drought, aging infrastructure and water treatment costs tied to rising prices for energy and chemicals. Meanwhile, customers have faced water rate increases of 57% over the past decade.

The district needs elected directors keenly focused on the tasks at hand with the technical and financial acumen to help lead through challenging times. Unfortunately, neither of the two candidates running in the Nov. 8 election for the only contested seat on the five-member board meets those criteria.

We reluctantly recommend Patt Young for the Division 1 seat representing much of Concord, Bay Point and Pittsburg. Just appointed a few months ago to fill a vacancy on the board, Young is now running for a full term.

A community health educator by profession, Young wants to ensure that underserved and marginalized community members understand the services the district provides. It’s an important and laudable goal.

Patt Young 

Unfortunately, as a member of the Los Medanos Community Health Care District board in Pittsburg, Young participated in the costly, misguided and ultimately unsuccessful fight for the preservation of that district. Without a hospital to operate, the district was spending more on administration than on the health-related grants and programs that were the only benefit it provided the community.

Nonetheless, Young brings more commitment and passion to her water board campaign than her opponent, Mariah Lauritzen, who is running after serving just half of her first four-year term on the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District board.

Lauritzen, a chemical engineer, seemed ill-prepared when she ran for her current post in 2020. And she seems ill-prepared now. She says, if elected, she would push for more use of recycled water — an important goal.

But, she said, the main reason she wants to jump elected positions is because the water district board meeting …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

      

Editorial: Two weak candidates running for Contra Costa water board

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