This is not a normal Westlake Revelations article.
You should consider this an “editorial” from Westlake Revelations’ founder, Neil Ticktin.
It’s a simple idea for you think about.

Last Fall, the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District Board of Directors moved forward approving design budget for the water storage tank. The planning is nearly done, and there’s likely to be a vote soon to move forward with the actual building of the tank based on that design. Since the vote to design, LVMWD has publicly said that the cost to build the tank is 35% higher, and that the design is more flexible (two pipes to it instead of one). LVMWD has not, publicly at least, seriously considered/presented any alternatives to the water storage tank — they’ve simply said the alternatives are not plausible for one reason or another.

Before the Board votes to move forward with the tank construction, I’d like you (area residents) to weigh in on an idea — remember, the water tank impacts the rates of every customer in LVMWD.

In my opinion, it’s difficult for an organization like LVMWD to think “out of the box.”
It’s not their training. It’s not their culture. And, that’s not unusual.

To help the water district be creative, however, I propose that LVMWD’s Board approve a program to establish a “Group Think Fund” of $10,000 to come up with alternatives *other* than the proposed water tank . The money would be awarded as prizes for the best alternatives. Anyone inside or outside the Water District could partake — LVMWD employees, community members, students, those outside the area … whoever. But, to win, they have to think “outside the box.”

With over 20,000 LVMWD water customers, this amounts to less than $0.50 of public money per water district customer. Given the years of rate increases that might be delayed or mitigated if a tank isn’t built, this would appear to be a very reasonable investment. At a minimum, it would help the community see if a tank concept is fully vetted, and see it weighed appropriately against alternatives.

Your call to action. Let the Water District know.
Please do so within the next 5 days so it can be added to the next meeting agenda.

Click on one of the below links and edit as you see fit — and it will give you a template email.
We suggest you add your name, and edit the text as you see fit to represent your position.
Outlook users may need to change the commas separating email addresses in the cc to semi-colons.
Westlake Revelations is bcc’d on the message. Feel free to remove, but it gives us an idea of how many people are writing in.

Yes, I would like the water district to establish a Group Think Fund and seek alternatives

No, I would like the water district to move forward with tank.

Fine print: The Board would appoint a panel of 3-5 members with, at a minimum, the LVMWD General Manager, and two others not affiliated with LVMWD, and possibly up to two LVMWD Board members if they are technical enough to opine. The group would award for first place ($5000), second place ($2500) and third place ($2500) prizes. Obviously, board members, the general manager, and I’ll include myself as well should be disqualified. The idea has to be substantially different from the water tank solution that has been proposed. Submissions can be done by individuals or groups. LVMWD employees and others would be able to submit anonymously, and would remain anonymous until awards are given out, and only if they are chosen as a winner.

If you’d like, reply back. I’d love to know what you think about the concept, about Westlake Revelations having editorials periodically, etc…