Issue 2, 2018

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The Current Flow Newsletter Issue 2, 2018

News for customers of
Las Virgenes Municipal Water District

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What's In This Issue:

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Keeping the Water Running

LVMWD General Manager David Pedersen and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu showing the group the difference between untreated water andDuring one of the hottest summers on record, how the District keeps the water flowing and manages this vital resource which allows every person to stay alive has become a topic of utmost concern.

(photo right - LVMWD General Manager David Pedersen and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu showing the group the difference between untreated water and tertiary treated recycled water; the final product.)

On August 1, 2018, Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) and State Senator Henry Stern (D-Calabasas) spent the morning touring the District’s facilities with LVMWD Board Directors, the General Manager, and City Councilmembers from Agoura Hills and Calabasas.

Both the Congressman and the Senator are advocates of resource conservation and highly educated on the subject of water, wastewater, recycled water and advanced water treatment.

Because of the increasing demand on water resources and the need to empower the region to become more resilient to climate change by ensuring long-term water reliability, the District brought together our local, state and congressional leaders to provide them with an educational opportunity to share the District’s progressive initiatives addressing these critical issues.

(Left to Right) Sen. Stern, Mayor Pro Tem Northrup of Agoura Hills, U.S. Rep. Lieu, LVMWD Director Lewitt, Mayor Pro Tem Shapiro and Mayor Gaines of Calabasas, LVMWD Board President Peterson.

(Left to Right) Sen. Stern, Mayor Pro Tem Northrup of Agoura Hills, U.S. Rep. Lieu, LVMWD Director Lewitt, Mayor Pro Tem Shapiro and Mayor Gaines of Calabasas, LVMWD Board President Peterson.

LVMWD is focused on closing the sustainability loop. The Pure Water Project will work in tandem with the Westlake Filtration Plant, Rancho Las Virgenes Composting Facility, and LVMWD solar fields (to offset expensive energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions), while removing most of theTapia Reclamation Facility effluent from Malibu Creek and creating a locally-sourced water supply.

"Your average citizen just wants to know they can turn on the tap and get water, or irrigate without thinking about how it all happens," Lieu said. "It was very informative for us to see how this all works."

 What's In This Issue


Embrace Natives - Not Embers

Wildfires are increasing in both number and devastation. Last year, five of the worst wildfires in California’s history burned over 10,000 structures and caused 50 lives to be lost.Fire in Calabasasas

Land specialists have been reviewing the aftermath from recent fires with the hope of gaining a better understanding of wildfire trends to help residents living in high-risk areas protect their homes and families.

Richard Halsey, Director of the Chaparral Institute and author of the book, Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California, attributes the frequency of wildfires to the growing concentration of homes being built in high-risk fire regions called the WUI, the Wildland Urban Interface. "The chaparral itself is not the problem," he said. "The problem is flammable homes in flammable places."

According to Halsey, the belief that chaparral burns often to regenerate itself is a myth. While wildfires are a natural occurrence on the chaparral landscape — a special community based-plant which lives in a Mediterranean-type climate — it’s natural fire cycle is on the order of about 30 to 150 years. "The land, along with its inhabitants, are all being threatened by too many wildfires," Halsey said.

Homes burn at an average of 3,000 degrees, much hotter than a natural, rapidly-moving chaparral fire. They are literally fueling the wildfires, throwing off extremely hot embers that can ignite entire neighborhoods. Embers, also known as firebrands, can fly for miles and spread fires swiftly from one property to another.

When a devastating fire sweeps through a neighborhood — as witnessed last year in the Tubbs (Santa Rosa) and Thomas (Ventura) fires — is there a reason why some homes burn and others are spared? It’s not a matter of luck, said land management specialist Douglas Kent, MS, MLA, ASLA who studied post-fire neighborhoods. He found that homes with drought resistant landscapes and defensible space — from 10 to 30 feet around the structure — resulted in a 66% to 90% better survival rate over homes with no defensible space. "You can fight a fire with flora," said Kent. "Lowering the intensity of the fire, lowers it’s potential to ignite a dwelling. How you landscape around your home is a significant factor in defending it against fire."

Taking proactive measures by creating a fire-wise landscape before wildfire season hits, can greatly improve your home’s chances of survival if you live in a high-risk area.

Embrace Natives, not Embers! Fire Defensive Landscaping

Planting native trees, flowers, ferns and grasses that are adapted to fire will help absorb embers and prevent wildfires from igniting your home because:

  • California native plants are fire and drought adaptive while non-native plants can become more flammable in drought conditions and fuel a fire.
  • Certain native plants, such as coastal oak trees, are able to hold hot embers for a longer length of time, preventing fires from reaching your home.
  • Native plants are naturally a great defense against the number one cause of homes catching fire — "firebrands."
  • Using natives in the 30-foot defensible space zone slows down the fire as it approaches your home and guards against embers igniting the structure.

Fire defensive landscaping might not only help save your home, but help your entire community survive. One of the easiest, most affordable ways to protect your home and prevent the rapid spread of wildfires is with fire-inhibiting native plants. By adapting a landscape more compatible with our special Mediterranean climate, you can protect your family and property.

Mountains Restoration Trust (MRT) is offering free information to residents in high-risk areas on fire-wise topics that include native plant landscaping and defensible space, fuel modification, fire ecology and other related areas. Visit Flora & Fire materials may also be obtained at MRT’s temporary location, 23075 Mulholland Hwy., Calabasas, 91302; (818-591-1701); MRT is a non-profit that preserves the natural and cultural resources of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Article contributed by Judi Uthus, Communications Specalist for Mountains Restoration Trust

 What's In This Issue

California Wildlife Center

CA Wildlife CenterCalifornia Wildlife Center (CWC) is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of native California animals. Located off Malibu Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains, CWC is the largest wildlife rehabilitation hospital in Los Angeles County and has been treating sick, injured and orphaned wildlife for 20 years.

CWC was started by a group of volunteers in 1998 and cared for 267 animals in its first year. Fast-forward to 2018: our service number has jumped sixteen-fold to 4,300+ patients a year. In total, CWC has provided care for more than 52,000 imperiled animals.

The majority of our patients are brought to us by caring individuals who Volunteer at CWCfind them in their neighborhoods, while others are transported from local animal shelters. CWC treats everything from small baby hummingbirds to Northern Elephant seals and rescues marine mammals from the Malibu coastline and accepts patients from as far as San Diego, Ventura and San Bernardino counties. About half of our animals have been separated from their parents. They are too young and need support as they mature while the other half arrive injured and require medical attention.

CWC has several full time employees, but are relient upon our strong and dedicated corps of volunteers to keep the animals fed, cleaned and watered. Over 250 amazing Angelenos donate their time every week!

CWC receives no sustainable funding from the government and solely replies upon individual donors, as well as grants to operate. CWC is open 365 days a year, continuing to offer wildlife services at no charge for the 10.4 million people of Los Angeles.

Contact us at our website:

Article contributed by Jennifer Brent,
Executive Director, California Wildlife Center

 What's In This Issue

Connect Socia lMedia


What's In This Issue


spotlightEmployee Spotlight:
Karen Norman

Karen has served Las Virgenes Municipal Water District for 8 years. She initially began in Customer Service and currently works as the Administrative Secretary for LVMWD’s Tapia Water Reclamation and Rancho Las Virgenes Composting facilities.

As a first generation American Finnish/Ukrainian, Karen spent her first 11 years in Atlanta, GA, before her family moved to rural England. By the time Karen was 15 years old, she had visited and experienced 29 different countries!

Karen NormanKaren, who has always been intrigued by people and their cultures, decided to study Economics/Geography at Cal State Northridge. Using that knowledge, Karen went on to work in commercial real estate, achieved her real estate license, and continued to learn valuable skills including city planning, starting and managing call centers and compliance and regulatory functions. She brings all of these skills and much more to her current position.

Karen’s love for service to others and her ability to be a tremendous listener have greatly benefited the District and the community because she "embraces customer service as an attitude and way of life, not a department."

She continues to actively pursue a deeper understanding of California Water,State regulations, reliability issues, climate change and, as always, becoming the best water professional possible.

One of Karen’s personal passions is leatherwork and glass art pieces. As seen in the photo, she also has a soft spot for African Violets.

Thank you for everything you do every day and for sharing what makes you unique.

 What's In This Issue

Can We Reach You In Case of an Emergency?

District staff responding to a broken pipe on Canwood Street and shutting off the water main. 	photo credit: The Acorn

When there’s an emergency shutdown, the District’s Customer Service staff might need to contact you.

Make sure your information is up-to-date. Please contact us at:

If needed, we want to keep you informed of emergency shutdowns and more.

Thank you for letting us be of service.

District staff responding to a broken pipe on Canwood Street and shutting off the water main. photo credit: The Acorn

 What's In This Issue

The Missing PieceThe Missing Piece

This is Cornell Pump Station. Name the location: Cornell Pump Station

    a. Calabasas Road near Park Granada

    b. El Canon Avenue near Calabasas Road

    c. Agoura Road near Cornell Road

    d. Calabasas Road near Parkway Calabasas

Send your response to:

The Missing Piece, LVMWD, 4232 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas, CA 91302, or send to with "Missing Piece" in the subject line. Please include your mailing address in case you are a winner! Prizes awarded monthly to ten winners randomly selected from the correct responses. Watch for the answer in the next issue of The Current Flow.

 What's In This Issue

Previous issue’s Missing Piece answer:

Which statement below is true about water utility engineers?

a. Water utility engineers install electrical power lines, wear laboratory coats to identify their professional acumen, and enjoy public speaking.

b. Water utility engineers use their skill sets to develop infrastructure that delivers quality, reliable drinking water to your faucet.

c. Water utility engineers create synthetic water by combining hydrogen and oxygen molecules using a super-conductor and sell it to aquarium manufacturers.

d. Water utility engineers are also amateur spelunkers.

e. None of the above.

 What's In This Issue

4232 Las Virgenes Road,  Calabasas, CA 91302
(818) 251-2100

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