Desert Water Agency Board could have a new, yet familiar, face come November

Steve Grasha, a sometimes controversial and outspoken director of the Mission Springs Water District, told Uken Report that he will seek election to the Desert Water Agency Board of Directors representing Division 1 in the November election.

Grasha was easily elected to the MSWD in November 2018 with 33% of the vote. He garnered more votes than anyone in the 70-year history of the Mission Springs Water District.

In less than two years after being elected, Grasha had been sued by a fellow director, escorted from a Water District meeting and investigated by the Public Integrity Unit of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

His office at MSWD would conclude on the same day in December as his term would begin at DWA if he’s elected.

DWA seats in Divisions 1, 2 and 3 are up for grabs. They are four-year terms. This will be the first division-based election for those divisions since Desert Water Agency started to transition to by-division elections in 2019. You can check out the map here.

That entire area is currently represented at-large by James Cioffi, Joseph Stuart and Pat Oygar.

Division 1 includes the northern area of Palm Springs including the neighborhoods of Upper Westside, Four Seasons, Desert Highland Gateway, Whitewater Club, Palm Springs Villa’s II, Desert Park Estates, Chino Canyon, and the unincorporated areas of North Palm Springs, Whitewater, Snow Creek, and Mission Lakes Country Club.

“The Desert Water Agency is one of the finest-managed water agencies in all of California and it will be a joy to experience serving on the Board of a properly functioning water agency, it’s important that we preserve that legacy and protect it from corrosive outside influences,” Grasha said.

Grasha who has been a resident of the Desert Water Agency for 40 years and has been involved in desert business and politics, Grasha is best known as the creator of the misting system made famous right here in Palm Springs in the 1980s and now popular Worldwide.

Grasha worked for former Palm Springs Mayor and Congressman Sonny Bono, who at Grasha’s urging took up the fight to save the Salton Sea. In 1994 when Bono was elected to Congress his first successful legislation was the creation of the Salton Sea Restoration Act.

Desert Water Agency is the area’s State Water Contractor representing the needs of a fast-growing and diverse population.

“We need to ensure adequate water imports are guaranteed to continue to fuel Palm Springs’s thirsty economy while ensuring the community’s continued growth across all sectors including tourism, industrial development, and residential development,” Grasha said.

Citing the need to conserve water, Grasha pointed out myriad conservation efforts by all Coachella Valley water agencies and highlighted efforts in his own Division One as being among the most conservation-minded people in California with some of the lowest water usage per capita in the State.

The responsibilities of water management in the desert are great and require experienced leadership including the laser-focused attention of water district directors, Grasha said.

With the recent reenactment of California State safe water regulations dramatically affecting Division One and the balancing act required to work with neighboring agencies, Grasha said he is uniquely qualified and ready to meet those obligations.

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