For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Contact: Naseem Farooqi

April 3, 2020                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Public Affairs Manager




RIALTO, CA – Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order today that restricts water shutoffs to homes and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Valley Water District (WVWD) Board of Directors approved a measure that temporarily lifts the hiring freeze for critical vacant positions that will help improve operations and ensure ratepayers continue to have access to safe drinking water.


WVWD Board President Channing Hawkins said, “Water is a critical public resource, which means we have to stay vigilant and operational during the coronavirus pandemic to protect West Valley ratepayers, residents and families. This also means filling water operations positions that are essential to delivering safe drinking water.”


Today, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that restricts water shutoffs to homes and small businesses while the State of California responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. The executive order also restores water for occupied residences that may have had their water shut off as of March 4, 2020 when the Governor proclaimed a state of emergency. However, WVWD is one of over 100 public and private water systems across California that already voluntarily suspended water shutoffs for non-payment as a result of COVID-19. In addition to these protections, the WVWD is also offering ratepayers experiencing financial hardship the opportunity to apply for a payment plan.


The board-approved positions include a supervising water system operator, two lead water system operators, and three water system operators. Earlier this year, the WVWD Board of Directors approved a temporary hiring freeze of personnel to reevaluate recruitment and hiring practices. Following this freeze, the Water District hired an interim human resources manager and transferred all recruitment, transfers, salary increases and performance evaluation powers to the human resources department. Though these positions have long been vacant, WVWD has full confidence in the interim human resources manager’s ability to adhere to protocol and secure qualified employees for the Water District’s open positions.


Each of these positions is assigned to the operations department which is responsible for protecting our water supply, monitoring water quality and regulatory compliance, and maintaining water treatment facilities and transmission lines to deliver safe drinking water. The most critical position, supervising water systems operator, leads the water quality division and has four primary functions: water quality and regulatory compliance, and managing the cross-connection control program, the commercial account program and underground service alerts. Other vacant operator positions will provide support to the maintenance, meter services and water treatment divisions.


Prior to the regular meeting the Board met in closed session and WVWD’s general counsel reported a severance agreement with an employee who requested a separation from the organization for personal reasons. The WVWD is temporarily filling the role with the dedicated and experienced Peggy Asche, an executive assistant, who has served WVWD for over 30 years.


Before facilitating an external search for these positions, the interim human resources manager will conduct an internal search process. The WVWD offers career growth, promotion and transfer opportunities to qualified WVWD employees before advertising open positions.




The West Valley Water District has proudly served the communities of Bloomington, Colton, Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino, and Jurupa Valley since 1952. Through name changes and consolidation, the mission has always remained the same: to provide customers with safe, high quality, and reliable water service at a reasonable rate and in a sustainable manner. The District provides water for 83,000 customers and is overseen by a five-member, publicly-elected board of directors.