Baca Grande Water and Sanitation District Strategic Plan
by Christine Canaly, Board Chair
Soon after the Mill Levy passed, the Baca Water District Board gathered for a Retreat. Joining us was Steve Harrell, Dist. Manager and Steve Rogers, Consulting Engineer and facilitator. We met to develop a Strategic Plan for the District that ties together goals for future decision making. What does that mean exactly? It means providing a vision that embraces key components like Public Health and Safety, Stewardship, Financial responsibility and Service to community.
It also entails having conversations about customer service. We asked questions about the composition (what does that look like?) regarding Level of Service. This mosaic includes regulatory requirements, reliability of supply, source water protection, maintenance of quality, and the long term sustainability of the infrastructure.
We then developed strategies based on how we were going to approach and succeed with implementation of these goals. We brainstormed practical applications for these projects like regionalization (connecting Casita Park water and sewage services to the Chalets), development of a Hydraulic Model (flow and pressure system schematics), automation (the infrastructure is now managed manually), establishment of minimum pressure at each service (home) location, ongoing training--financial and technical, sewer inspection and leak detection programs, Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP-connecting our water supply sources to aquifer and watershed protection.) This SWPP may include development of policy and/or regulatory requirements. Asset management is also a key component that ties all these strategies together.
The next step was to construct plans and focus on the detail of the goal and to produce a realistic timeline. For example, one of the categories under “maintenance of quality within the distribution system” is a flushing and hydrant maintenance program. Did you know that we have 5 different types of fire hydrants? Recently, a technical training took place with Dana Kepner, Hydrant supplier that included Baca W & S staff and the Baca Grande Volunteer Fire Department to receive expertise and garner skills on how these hydrants function and to implement policy for a quality maintenance program. A tremendous amount of information was shared and issues like water hammer (shutting a hydrant down too quickly) that has impeded the District for years is now being integrated into a long term solution.
Measuring the success of these plans is based on implementation both internally and externally of coherent policy and procedures for both board and staff. Providing regular job performance evaluations is another key component to help measure success. This performance criteria values and elevates constructive human relationships working together to problem solve and being acknowledged for the good work. This essential interplay is where Board, Management and staff roles are linked together to determine the critical outcome of this Strategic Plan. Managing human dynamics is an essential piece.
Bond financing is another critical piece regarding sustainable financial reserves. Board and staff members have spent the last month filling out 11 page questionnaires to provide the appropriate background and information to lending institutions for Water and Sanitation Improvement and Refunding Bonds, Series 2008. This will provide long term security for infrastructure needs and we commit to transparent decision making.
In terms of outreach, we are also in the process of updating our website. We welcome your feedback and hope to provide you with a user friendly, informative and interactive portal with which to receive updates, background and make payment to your Water and Sanitation District for ongoing services.
I would like to thank our dedicated Staff, who is doing a tremendous job of providing valuable service to you, our valued customers. Thanks to you who have the wisdom to support the recent mill levy. Much work needs to be done, but it’s necessary and valuable investment, real investment, that supports the needs of the greater community.
Agua es Vida, water is life. Happy Holidays.