Meet the Candidates: Andrew Guetzkow

IWV Water District

Meet the Candidates: Andrew GuetzkowAndrew Guetzkow (rhymes with “let’s go”) is a newcomer to the valley, arriving in Ridgecrest in 2016. An attorney of 10 years with a background in water, he now works at China Lake managing compliance and regulatory programs.

Guetzkow lives here with his wife and two sons. He was born in Missouri, served in the Air Force, earned his law degree at Sturm College of Law in Denver and has lived in many different states and countries.

“I feel like I can offer a lot to the community,” said Guetzkow. “I know I’m new here, but I have a passion for service and a strong analytic background.”

Guetzkow said the Water District needs to push for more of a leadership role on the IWV Groundwater Authority.

“We have some huge water issues in the Western United States,” said Guetzkow. “We’re just a little piece in a big picture of a big problem. We’re basically trying to make sure this basin is sustainable and we don’t get stomped on by big cities.”

Guetzkow said his experience in detailed analysis as well as his legal background helps him develop creative solutions for problems. “We need to try and collaborate in a way that helps the community grow and thrive.”

“I want to make sure our solutions are clearly communicated and fairness is a key part,” he said. “So even if people don’t get what they want – they can still see that the process was fair. The reality is – this needs to be taken care of. Reasonable, objective people need to be able to look and see that the water district made reasonable, fair decisions.

“One of the big fears is that the community has to subsidize big water users and there’s a feeling of unfairness. Searles could go out of business. Farmers with high water needs could lose their operations. We only have so much water – so how are we going to procure more?”

Guetzkow acknowledged that the valley will see increased costs and will have to make tough decisions – but should seek out the best available data before doing to.

He also thinks the Water District should adopt a cost structure that better promotes conservation.

“Right now if I use one unit of water, I’m paying 80% the cost of someone that uses nine units,” he said. “There’s no incentive to use less water.”

In regards to the GA’s replenishment fee - “the fee may not have been well thought out enough,” he said. “Does it even address our sustainability issue? I think they were afraid the state would take over and it would have been an end to Ridgecrest – but I feel we could have done better.

“We have to deal with the short-term, but also the long-term. What about infrastructure? Are we going to pipe water around? What are we going to do about earthquakes? We need more exploration on the costs and an understanding of what our possibilities are.

“Should we try desalination? Can we engage with Searles for a shared approach – maybe purchase some of their rights and give them brackish water that’s good enough for their use? I want to facilitate everybody having a voice and community participation. That’s critical for us moving forward.”

Story First Published: 2020-10-16