Cohort Reflections


Keeping Our County Running

Erin Larner

Manager of Operations - Ventura, Aera Energy LLC

At our most recent VCLA session, I learned so much about the breadth and depth of what the Public Works Agency does to keep the County running. A huge thank you goes out to David Fleisch and the Ventura County Water & Sanitation Department in Moorpark for hosting our cohort for the morning and providing so much valuable information. I had no idea that engineering services serves over 2,900 customers annually at their permit counter, and that Central Services purchases office space for all of the County programs and handles franchise agreements that generate over $2.3 million in annual revenue. Finally, the Public Works Department are responsible for over 2,500 miles of roads in the county and are funded by gasoline taxes & state/federal programs.

Even with all that, the highlight was hearing from the Water & Sanitation department. At a time when water availability is such an issue at the state level, it was fascinating to understand that there are over 18 water districts in Ventura County. The Public Works Agency operates 4 separate districts and is responsible for domestic, industrial, commercial, and fire protection water for those areas entirely, including maintaining a $2.5 billion flood-control system and 49 dams. The discussion ranged from water availability to aging infrastructure to conservation efforts to staffing shortages. I walked away feeling much more informed about how the county functions and supports the residents and with a much better appreciation for the complexity of water related issues. There is so much interconnectedness, and yet so many silos that impact each resident differently based on physical location within the county. It was an extremely informative and eye-opening morning, and I can’t wait to continue this journey with the rest of my cohort!

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