Leroy Corlett

Spotlight on the candidates: IWV Water District

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

 Leroy Corlett “I have served on all committees at the water board and understand how it works,” said Leroy Corlett, 77, incumbent, who is running for one of the three four-year-term seats on the Indian Wells Valley Water District Board of Directors. “I have a lot of experience to offer and I enjoy helping the community.” So far he has served a total of 17 years on the board.

“The long-term challenge before the board, as always, is to develop future sources of supply for 20 to 30 years in the future,” said Corlett.

“The immediate challenge is the rate increase we just put in place and the coming rate increase for 2013. We need to re-evaluate the need for this next increase, to see if there’s any more we can do to avoid it.

“Developing a local supply of water will be a challenge — to do it so it’s done equitably and doesn’t affect individual well owners. The district will have to develop a well-defined mitigation plan that protects the district as well as individual well owners and the environment,” he said.

To meet these challenges, Corlett advocates working on a long-term underground water banking project in the extreme southwest part of the valley, as well as continuing studies to define brackish-water-availability locations in the valley.

“The more brackish water we use, the longer we can hold off intrusion of brackish water into the main aquifer,” he said.

“The board needs to revisit the last rate study and determine the absolute necessity of the planned rate increase of 2013 or if there is an alternative,” Corlett added.

“I advocate fiscal and civic accountability. As an IWVWD director, I will continue to listen to customer concerns and work to modernize and streamline the way the water district does business.

“I also believe the district needs to remain proactive in the areas of water conservation, the management of our aquifer and the development of alternate water supply resources for the future. The Navy, Searles Valley Minerals, IWV Water District, Kern County, BLM and private-well owners will have to participate and partner together in this process. This issue will take a great deal of effort, which I am prepared to give.

“The big conservation issue coming is the governor’s 20-percent water use reduction by 2020. The State Water Resources Control Board is in process of setting goals for every water district and water user to meet. We will be required to be half way there by 2015. It will be up to the next board to determine the best methods for implementing this goal,” he said.

Corlett and his his wife, Carol, came to Ridgecrest in 1955 after their son, then nine months old, was diagnosed with asthma. His doctor advised a dry climate. “We’ve been here ever since and enjoy every day,” said Corlett.

The couple had four more children, and now have 11 grandchildren. He retired from the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, after a career in avionics.

Story First Published: 2012-09-19