Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Southern California: JOHN ALLEN, Candidate for Water Replenishment District 3

As many of you know, California has been suffering from a serious drought for years, and water conservation is of paramount importance.

Our Guest Blogger is John Allen, Long Beach Water Commissioner, who's a candidate for Water Replenishment District, Division 3.

A strong advocate for water conservation, John Allen has served as a Long Beach Water Commissioner for seven years. He's a member of the Board of Directors of the Long Beach Transit and the WomenShelter.  He had worked as a hardcover gang murder prosecutor; and he had also served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala.

In this article, John Allen discusses why he's running this November 4 as a candidate for Water Resplenishment District 3:

Why I'm Running this November 4
By John Allen
California is in an extreme drought and so even obscure water elections are described as “hot races.” Here, it’s the Water Replenishment District (WRD), Division 3 seat on the last ballot page.

Why is this race important? Because 60% of the water that comes from our faucets is pumped from an underground aquifer beneath our feet.

That water is in trouble. It’s unprotected from seawater that intrudes into our basin when the water table sinks from overuse.

Because the key monitoring well had fallen to an unacceptable low in 1961, the Superior Court regulated the pumpers’ water allocation rights. The WRD was the designated governmental agency to restore the water table high enough to defend our basin from saltwater entering and contaminating our aquifer.

The basin slowly recovered until this historic drought. Now that low mark of 1961 is being broken. That’s the urgency in this election: the increasing risk of ocean saltwater coming into and spoiling our basin.

How did we get here?

Every year, WRD usually buys 20,000 acre feet of water from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) to replenish our basin. For the last three years, WRD chose not to buy water. Then in February, WRD asked Met for 60,000 acre feet. Met has not delivered one drop.

All this summer, with three of the WRD’s five directors up for election on Nov. 4, WRD has assured everyone our basin was in great shape. The five board members have not tried to get Met to sell 20,000, 10,000 or even 5,000 acre feet to help our basin. They have not tried to get the 43 mayors in WRD’s service area to write a joint letter to Met. They have not tried to get area legislators to lobby Met. This delay followed by this inaction in replenishing our aquifer is not prudent management of this invaluable resource.

That’s why I’m running. I’m John Allen. For the last seven years I served on the Long Beach Water Commission (LBWC), twice as president.

Mayor Foster appointed me in 2007 because I cared about educating the public on conservation, keeping the price low and securing our water sources.

I got federal money for a demonstration project to take the salt out of seawater while both protecting the environment and bringing down the cost of desalination.

Under my leadership, the LBWC declared an “Imminent Water Supply Shortage” months before the state did.

I pushed the “lawn2garden” program that pays homeowners to replace lawns with California native plants.

I oversaw an advertising campaign reminding people our reservoirs are shrinking.

I created the “gray water” pilot project to test using your washing machine water to irrigate your plants.

During my seven years, Long Beach’s annual water consumption fell 13.5%. Then this July and August, it fell to its lowest level since July and August of 1958. In September, we were at 1965’s level.

I shall insist on proper management of our basin. The water table will rise above 1961 levels. I shall push for conservation measures. For example, WRD can partner with other water agencies to get “lawn2garden” programs going in other cities.

I’m not a professional candidate. I’m a retired gang prosecutor from the DA’s office who volunteered for the local water board seven years ago, just as I had served on the Long Beach Transit Board and the WomenShelter board.

I’ve been endorsed by Supervisor Don Knabe, District Attorney Jackie Lacey, former Mayor Bob Foster, former DA Steve Cooley, former State Senator Betty Karnette, Gary De Long and Doug Otto. They are knowledgeable people about water and our local water agencies.

However I’m most pleased our water commission urged conservation for the last seven years so we use substantially less water. Now my major concern is protecting the ground water in our basin from seawater contamination.

With California in the midst of the worst drought on record, we need someone with experience in solving water problems, not out-of-office politicians looking for a place to land or raw beginners.
Those seven years on the water commission make me the most qualified person running in this “hot race.”

I ask for your vote on Nov. 4.

You can like me on Facebook at John Allen Long Beach Water Commissioner for WRD 2014.

John Allen is a candidate for the Division 3 Water Replenishment District board position.
Tags: John Allen, candidate,  Division 3, water replenishment District, Long Beach, California, Southern California, water, drought

This is all for now,

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