The Water Union

By Dana Newquist   |   October 11, 2018

Montecito has been my home since 1984. Like most, I sought this paradise that has been adopted by many for the natural beauty and semi-rural charm we cherish. Montecito is a magical place. After selling my Chain of Computer Stores in 1985, I sought another venture that I would enjoy. For me, joy comes from being intimately linked into this community. 

So, I opened Montecito Video. Two years later, I purchased Summerland Video. With these outlets, I became familiar with a large portion of this community, just from giving them free popcorn and listening to their stories! From those magical years starting in 1986, I met David Myrick, who nudged me to attend Montecito Association meetings, where I became nominated and seated in 2000. In 2003, I became the treasurer.

Becoming involved in Montecito became my new vocation. I consistently have trouble saying “no” when someone asks me for help on a needed project. Apparently, word has gotten out that I can’t say no to this community. With Diane Pannkuk, I started the Village 4th event in 1996. I have participated in Beautification Day with the fire engine every year since 1988. Don Hathaway, the Battalion chief of the MFPD, requested that I assume the decorating duties of the Community Tree, now in Manning Park. I do all this happily because serving this community gives me joy.

Perhaps my most important assignment was that of being a director of the Montecito Fire Protection District. Over the years, I had become familiar with the department and believed that my talents could enhance the three-man board. My service lasted nine years. It became readily apparent to me early on that a three-man board was not viable with one member chronically ill. The board had been three-man since inception in 1917. I therefore lobbied the board to place a Ballot initiative in 2008 for a five-man board, and that initiative passed.

Not being a fireman might have been an attribute in my service, as what became important was to study and understand the issues that impact that agency. It was critical to be a leader when the Tea Fire broke out to ensure that those impacted by the fire were handled judiciously and with care. Also most important was the ability to be a team player.

Like Fire Protection, we need Water Protection. This is important for Montecito. We’re more at-risk with our water supply than we know.

Every drop of water here has importance; it’s our lifeblood.

As with Fire, Water needs a team. It will take all agencies working together to sustain us. Today, we recycle all reusable products.

Why do we not take this approach with water? It would not be hard for us to make this shift. Let’s create a water union between our two agencies that works to increase supply for all of us.

There are stellar examples of communities and countries that already recycle their water. Orange County is running the largest recycling operation in the world. Israel may be best-known for their commitment in recycling 90 percent of their wastewater, four times more than any other country in the world.

It’s time for our Montecito Sanitary District to work with other agencies to build the infrastructure to recycle our wastewater. I am committed to making that happen.

Let’s create a Water Union between our “water agencies” (Sanitation and Water) that works together to increase water supply for us all. I’d be honored to receive your vote on November 6.


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