‘I came to understand the complexity of the scope and menu of services provided by the Water District,’ John Aguilar said.

CATHEDRAL CITY — John Aguilar, who made history in this community as the first Latino mayor, was appointed to the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) in December 2020. He is now seeking election to the board to represent Division 1 on the five-member board when his appointment expires in November, Aguilar confirmed to Uken Report.

Division 1 covers most of Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, unincorporated areas of Riverside including Seven Palms Valley and parts of the San Jacinto Mountains towards Pinyon Pines.

The four-year terms of Board President John Powell Jr., Division 3, and Board Vice President, Cástulo R. Estrada, Division 5, also expire in November.

Board Directors receive up to $223 per meeting attended with a maximum of 10 meetings per month and one meeting per day.

A longtime public servant, Aguilar served previously as Mayor and Councilperson of Cathedral City. As he prepares to officially launch his campaign, Aguilar explained why he is seeking the seat.

Uken Report (UR): You were appointed in December 2020. Have you grown in/into the role? If so, how?

John Aguilar: I believe so. Following my appointment, I came to understand the complexity of the scope and menu of services provided by the Water District.  Having served as a Planning Commissioner, City Councilmember and Mayor of the second largest city in the Valley and as Housing Deputy Director for Riverside County, I had a firm understanding and grasp of local government’s mission and its role in serving its citizens. However, the services provided by the Water District are very broad and complex and are regulated by many different local, state, and federal agencies.  I have learned the intricacies of their impact on providing policy direction to the District and its customers.  Also, the District is multi-jurisdictional.  Currently, as a Water District Director, my responsibility is to constituents in different areas with different needs and priorities when it comes to water resources, not only in my District but throughout the entire CVWD area of service. I should note as well that we are among the largest Water Agencies in the state. The District covers more than 1,000 square miles and we serve over 100,000 customers in three counties which are Riverside, Imperial, and parts of San Diego County, so I had a lot to absorb.

UR: What is it about the CVWD that excites you?

John Aguilar: I think knowing that I can help contribute to the quality of life for our residents by preserving the quality, quantity, and reliability of our precious water is what really excites me personally.  I have observed that CVWD has done an outstanding job in maintaining effective ground water management. We are very actively engaged in doing all we can to conserve and preserve our water rights.  I am also very excited about providing the leadership to complete a sewer project in some of the neighborhoods in Cathedral City still on septic tanks.

UR: Why are you seeking re-election?

John Aguilar: Three reasons.

  • One, I have been working with CVWD Water District and Cathedral City staff and leadership to implement a sewer project in some of the more needy neighborhoods still on septic systems within Cathedral City. These septic systems typically have expensive maintenance issues to the residents and can contribute to deteriorating drinking water, so working with Cathedral City staff and Council we have been holding neighborhood meetings (with the highest concentration of septic tanks) to educate families on the benefits of converting to sewer.
  • Two.  There is no question that we are in a drought!  Because it is most likely the worst drought that any of us have witnessed in our lifetimes, one of my goals is to help our Water District customers understand the importance of conservation and how it relates to our aquifer. Our customers have been doing a good job in taking steps to reduce their water usage but we need to do more.
  • Three:  It is my strong desire to continue to prioritize upgrading the District’s infrastructure. The Water District has been in business for more than a century and though the District has done a great job in maintaining its complex infrastructure system, more needs to be done to replace various aging parts of it.  I want to aid in securing funding to ensure the system is maintained to the highest standard possible with upgrades where needed.  With my experience in city government, it is my hope that I will be able to continue to assist in this process, helping our valley to become stronger and more drought resilient!

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  • John Aguilar: John Aguilar