Kevin Mangold Running for Mojave Water Agency District 4

Simone Graham – Editor: Kevin Mangold’s formal statement about his candidacy for the District 4 Board is on his Facebook page (see below). He and his family are enjoying living here and Kevin looks forward to further establishing himself and his family in the high desert and serving on the MWA board.

Tell me a bit about yourself, how long have you lived in the high desert?

I am from California, I grew up in the Inland Empire and I remember how the high desert used to be. It was not very big, but I did not know how the area here had grown until I moved up here six years ago to take the director position at Casa Colina in Lucerne. Before that, I worked at the Casa Colina in Pomona. Though the high desert is not that far from there, we usually would be on our way somewhere else and would just drive by it. We were looking for a place to live once I accepted the transfer and we fell in love with the area. We came from Claremont, which is the city of trees, and coming to the desert was a big transition. I do appreciate it up here because of the air quality and the desert does have its own beauty. I try to get in a run in the morning and the sun rises then are breathtaking. When I am coming home I can see the sunset and that is breathtaking, too.  A couple days ago I had to get out my long sleeve shirt, thinking, “This is great! This is actually fall”, because down the hill you have summer and spring. You do not have any other season. You can feel the seasons here. Our first winter it actually snowed, just a dusting, but you could make a snowball! That was new for us.

What are you doing to educate yourself about the agency?

I am talking to everyone at the agency, talking to people who have lived up here for a long time, and using the website to see what is already there to learn. It is a really great tool because the agency is really centered on data. There are charts, graphs, and spreadsheets to study on the website. Mojave water district is huge. It covers 4,900 square miles. It goes up to 395 by Red Mountain, all the way down to the Morongo Basin by Yucca Valley, and the base of the mountains. The area that I will be representing is District 4. That is really just Victorville. It is a small area compared to all the other areas, but it is that way because of population; it is Victorville, Spring Valley Lake, and follows the river area.

Is there anyone running against you?

Yes, and he has been on the board for, I think seventeen years (See the water board website for photos of the board of directors Last election no one ran against him. I am really not a politician at all, but I would like to serve. Recently, there was an issue with the Newberry Springs area north of us in Barstow. Once the water level goes down, the wells have to be dug down deeper. The problem being that the deeper you dig, the more heavy metals there are and they are toxic to us. The MWA budgeted and set aside money to recharge the ground water up there. It was quite a bit of money. It came to a vote for the board of directors. There are seven on the board of directors; five voted ‘yes’ and two voted ‘no’. the ones who voted ‘no’ wanted to table the plan, not spend the money, and find a more long-term plan believing that this is going to be just a short-term fix. My thinking is that if they need water, they need water now. It was already budgeted, too.

I know the incumbent voted against it. I would totally disagree with him on that point. They hired contractors to tell them what to do and the contractors gave the board their recommendation about how much water should be directed to the recharge site. That was their recommendation. Why go against their recommendation? They were going to spend half a million dollars to pipe the water from the aqueduct to the recharge site. The Mojave Agency has so many acres per foot to use and budgeted for this. The incumbent wanted to table the idea and come up with a long-term goal. My thinking is that they need the water now. if you table the idea it is going to take years to talk about, plan, and do a long-term fix. Fix it now and then spend whatever time it takes to solve it permanently.

It was a very hot topic! The vote was only a couple of weeks ago when this all happened. If it was happening here in this area in Spring Valley Lake, would you vote against it? He thinks it is going to benefit the high users. There are about ten producers of alfalfa out there. But if the pipe went straight just to those people then, yes, it would just benefit them only. But if you recharge the ground and everyone is pumping from the ground it is going to the ‘mom and pop’ person and the high user. If they need water, then they need water.

Maybe there is a concern that they are using the water here to grow crops that are being exported to other countries?

Possibly. Look at the bread basket of America and the world, Bakersfield, Fresno and that whole valley; they export their produce everywhere. I still have relatives in Fresno and it is a big issue. Water anywhere on the west coast is a big issue. It would be great to have a pipeline from Alaska or Tennessee! Who knows? Maybe in another 30 or 40 years they will finally do that. They have so much water, flooding almost month to month and here we are, “Let’s save the drop. Just save the drop.” We are a desert and deserts are always going to be a water issue. I did not realize how political it is. This is a big industry area in Victorville and I am finding out very quickly how political it is.

Kevin Mangold

“Giving Back to the Community”

2 Responses to Kevin Mangold Running for Mojave Water Agency District 4

  1. Gene says:

    If they did do the recharge in New Berry Springs, would that have increase our water rates fo residents in Victorville?

    • hdgazette says:

      From what I understand, the money was part of the existing working budget. The amount of funds used to purchase the water did have to be approved by the board, but was approved and put aside for the recharge.

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