California Water District Embraces Transparency with OpenGov
The eighty-three mile Santa Clara River — one of the most prominent rivers in Southern California — flows leisurely through the Santa Clarita Valley as it runs its course to the Pacific. Living alongside the river’s upper watershed, thousands of residents in the Santa Clarita Valley contribute to Los Angeles County’s thriving economy and unique culture.
Santa Clarita, like the rest of Southern California, depends on a water distribution system that imports water from the north via the California Aqueduct. This water distribution system — comprised of two large treatment plants, three major pump stations, three water storage facilities and over 45 miles of large diameter transmission pipelines — is run by the Castaic Lake Water Agency (CLWA).
CLWA began looking for ways to use new technologies to connect with constituents; water is a hot-button issue in drought-parched Southern California and citizens have an interest in ensuring their water district is efficiently managed. After considering several options, CWLA chose OpenGov to revolutionize how it connects with constituents.
The agency has embraced transparency for awhile by putting financial documents on its website, but OpenGov enables CLWA to dynamically display information, fostering a new visual experience. CLWA’s General Manager, Dan Masnada, explains that the transition to OpenGov “allows the Agency to stay current with instantaneous-trending technology, similar to that of social media.”
CLWA plans to employ OpenGov to broaden its outreach to constituents and showcase its hard work. Masnada continues:
“With the appealing, interactive graphic displays of the Agency’s historical financial information, we may be better able to reach a new demographic market from the way this information is displayed, which can only help to further educate and empower our residents of the Santa Clarita Valley”
OpenGov empowers Masnada and his staff to tell Santa Clarita Valley residents some powerful stories. Users can begin by visualizing historical expenditures by department.
Users can also visualize revenues and CLWA can pre-save reports or “views” to tell constituents a story:
Constituents may want to learn more about the composition of property tax revenues. With the click of a button, users can explore property tax revenue sources:
CLWA strives to fulfill residents’ water needs, and it is not alone. Communities create special districts to meet specific local needs. Many perform a single function such as fire protection, sewage or water systems, pest abatement, or cemetery management. Community service districts may provide a single or many different services. All districts are accountable to their voters and customers; they prepare budgets and financial statements, they are audited annually, and must follow many other legal requirements imposed on all public entities.
Technologies such as OpenGov that are revolutionizing city, county, and state performance and transparency can also provide unique value to special districts across the nation such as CLWA. For example, some of the ways OpenGov can empower special districts include:
1.Easy installation without special programming or IT involvement in most cases.
2. Current, accurate and comprehensive reporting for internal staff.
3. Graphical reporting designed to share with legislators for improved decision making.
4. Share the data that matters most to the community.
5. Inclusion of historical data in reporting for better trend analysis and budgeting.
6. Significant time-savings on reporting and information sharing.
Category: Customer Story