Judie Decker

Spotlight on the Candidates: IWV Water District

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Judie Decker“I am the only candidate running who has attended virtually every water district board meeting, board workshop, and committee meeting since 2007,” said Judie Decker, candidate for one of three four-year seats on the IWV Water District’s Board of Directors

“I am knowledgeable and current on the issues facing the district and on how special districts are governed.

“I chose to run for this position because I know water and I know our community. I believe the water district needs my knowledge of the district and my courage to put in place new projects to stretch out our finite water supply.

“My campaign slogan ‘Cities Grow Where Water Flows’ is an accurate description of my community view.”

The expertise she would bring to the board includes both her attendance at district meetings and previous IWVWD board experience. Decker has served a total of 17 years.

“I am well-versed on the hydrologic, budget and infrastructure issues of the district. I have no conflicts of interest with either existing or potential new board members or staff members. I strongly believe in an open and clear communication with the public,” she said.

“The greatest challenge to this district is to face the reality of our limited water supply and to act responsibly to ensure a future supply. The district is at least 20 years behind the recommendations of experts who recommend supplemental alternate water sources, including the treatment and use of brackish water.

“Another great challenge is to build district fiscal competence. The district has obligated $20 million worth of certificates of participation which must be paid back by the ratepayers, largely for an arsenic treatment project,” said Decker.

“This project ignored other alternative solutions to the arsenic problem. The Navy, with similar arsenic issues, chose to employ blending, which was put in place at a cost far lower than the treatment option chosen by the district.”

She is critical of the job the district did in planning its new rate schedule. “This has resulted in much higher fees for low water users — the exact opposite of careful planning that emphasizes conservation. This is unfair to the rate-paying public.”

To meet these challenges, Decker said, “If elected, I would push for a Navy-district partnership. The purchase or trade of excess water from the Navy for peak summer demands is more practical and much cheaper than the district’s Water Supply Improvement Project. Around $1 million has already been spent on this unnecessary project.

“The Navy and the district also need to develop a joint plan to treat and use brackish water that exists in abundance at the China Lake playa. In the area of fiscal accountability, the district needs to carefully examine how it spends your money.”

Decker and her husband, Don, just celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. They have lived in the IWV since 1969 and raised their two children here. She is a retired schoolteacher. “We are very interested in the history and natural environment of our desert and Eastern Sierra,” she said.

“I am very proud of my record as a former board member.”

Story First Published: 2012-09-19