New pump station crucial to Calleguas and Las Virgenes

GUEST Opinion /// Protecting California’s water

At recent board meetings by the Oak Park Municipal Advisory Council and Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, the proposal to construct a new pump and pressure-reducing station on Lindero Canyon Road just north of the county line was discussed.

The station will connect the water distribution systems between the two major regional water wholesalers—the Calleguas and Las Virgenes municipal water districts—and secure the potable water supply for our region.

The drinking water supply for the Conejo Valley region, including Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Oak Park, Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks, is 100 percent dependent on imported water from the State Water Project delivered to our local areas by Calleguas and Las Virgenes.

Interconnecting with the Las Virgenes system gives Calleguas an alternative water supply route in the event of major disasters and emergencies, and vice versa.

Global warming has caused more extreme weather patterns and natural disasters, and fresh in our memory is the recent Thomas fire that burned down more than 800 homes and structures in just a few days. Entire hillside communities in Ventura were caught in the fast-moving fire. Many people left their homes with only a moment’s notice in the night.

The City of Ventura ran out of water to fight the fire in the hillside areas, and electricity was down.

This is why it is imperative to have an alternate potable water source for our region and redundancy in our water distribution system, which the interconnection of the Calleguas and Las Virgenes water systems will provide.

A Calleguas engineering report for the project indicated that as many as four sites were studied and evaluated.

The considerations for site selection included proximity to residences and schools, easement acquisition, sufficient space for the proposed facility, ease of construction and site geologic conditions.

The final project site selected is along Lindero Canyon Road, just north of the Los Angeles and Ventura county line in an unincorporated open space area of Oak Park.

After multiple public meetings, Calleguas is proposing to build the entire facility underground so as not to present any obstruction or alteration to the views of open space.

While there may be temporary inconvenience during construction of the project, Calleguas pledges to minimize the impacts to the local community.

It is an essential project that we need for the security and reliability of our water supply source and property and livelihood protection.

Susan Pan of Oak Park is a member of the Triunfo Sanitation District board of directors.