Why I am Running for the Water Board

By Cori Hayman   |   September 13, 2018

Montecito is at an important crossroads in this post-disaster era. Our community’s ability to recover and thrive depends in large part on our leaders’ willingness to take decisive and large steps to move forward with resilient, sustainable, and environmentally sound infrastructure and strategies. Water is the most important resource for Montecito, and it is in desperate need of a strategic overhaul. Put simply, achieving water security is fundamental to Montecito’s future.

We are in a multi-year drought. During the height of the ongoing drought, Montecito Water District (MWD)’s strategy depended on rainfall by purchasing water for about 85% of our supply. Over the past 10-years, moreover, the State Water Project has been able to deliver only, on average, about 42% of its promised allocation amount, requiring expensive supplemental water purchases. At the same time, Montecito wastes nearly 500,000 gallons a day of water by dumping its treated wastewater into the ocean. I am determined to stop the waste by shifting the strategic direction and cultural thinking in Montecito to the aggressive pursuit of a diverse water portfolio, including wastewater management strategies and the completion of the desalinization agreement with the City of Santa Barbara. The goal is to have a water portfolio that captures every drop of water on this side of the mountain for future generations.

Without a secure supply of water, this beautiful community can turn into a parched desert. Collectively, we have an investment of more than $10 billion in Montecito residential real estate at risk. The three incumbents running for the Montecito Water Board and the Montecito Sanitary Board have had a collective 29 years to solve our water problems and they have failed to do so. It is time to pass the torch and make room for some fresh thinking.

I have spent the past several months working with a group of like-minded and multi-talented community activists who believe we can achieve water security for Montecito and Summerland. This group comprises parents with school children, working professionals, and retired concerned residents. Calling ourselves the Water Security Team, we will pursue sustainable local water supply sources.

To attain true water security, we will need a higher level of community engagement, improved collaboration between our various local agencies, and a commitment to do what needs to be done to protect our future. Throughout my life, I have been a problem solver who rigorously analyzes challenging situations, researches the facts, identifies innovative solutions, evaluates costs, tests options, makes sound decisions, takes decisive action, and monitors results.

I graduated from University of California Santa Barbara in political science, followed by law school at Pepperdine University. My legal experience included stints with top-rated Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, and as a regulatory compliance lawyer for Tenet Healthcare Corporation and Catholic Healthcare West, all of which required a solutions-oriented approach to the practice of law under a complicated regulatory scheme.

In more recent years, I have become a community advocate, first as an engaged parent at Montecito Union School, then as a member of the Montecito Association (MA) Board of Directors, and more recently as chair of the MA Land Use Committee. In these very active roles, I have had the opportunity to pursue solutions to the most significant problems facing our community through collaborative efforts between fellow homeowners, elected officials, and governmental agencies.

I am seeking an opportunity to leverage my professional experiences, my passion for the betterment of my community, and my capacity for fresh thinking to the Montecito Water Board. I would be honored to receive your vote.


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