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Gloria Gray was elected to the Board of Directors of the West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) in 2006. Since that time she has been an inspirational agent of change to improve the lives of her constituents by promoting water reliability, focusing on customer service, and supporting local businesses.
In the area of water reliability, Director Gray was a key driver in shaping the future of the water agency. Recently, the Board of Directors commissioned a survey of the needs of its customers and, based on that information, developed and adopted a Strategic Business Plan. The Plan lays out priorities and goals for West Basin to accomplish and a newly adopted mission of "providing a safe and reliable supply of high quality water to the communities we serve." In addition, to properly focus and communicate West Basin benefits, value and savings to its water users, the Board adopted five new commitments to it customers to provide water reliability, water quality, sound financial and resource management, customer service and environmental stewardship.
Currently, the Board is launching the Water Reliability 2020 Program, a new initiative for West Basin. Driven by current and future droughts, climate change, a growing statewide population, current and possible future legal limitations on moving water to Southern California, and reductions in water from the Colorado River, Water Reliability 2020 will reduce West Basin's dependence on less reliable imported water from 66 percent to 33 percent by 2020. The plan will be achieved by doubling our water recycling program and conservation success, expanding education and furthering our investment in ocean-water desalination.
As Director Gray has noted, "We are doing what every water agency in California should be doing- diversifying our water portfolio to mitigate future droughts and meet the challenges of a growing population." Always focused on bringing resources to her community, Director Gray's efforts to ensure a reliable water supply for our children and grandchildren is visionary and commendable.
Wanting to support local businesses in West Basin's service area, Director Gray initiated the Local Business Enterprise program to encourage local businesses to compete for work with West Basin. Local businesses get a 3 percent reduction on their bids for supplies, goods and equipment. In the bidding and selection process for services and consulting contracts, local businesses will get a 3 point advantage on a 100 point evaluation system. Director Gray's initiative allows a local business to better compete for work and enhances the local economy in West Basin's service area.
Director Gray initiated a local banking program to allow a local bank to compete for, and hold up to $2,000,000 of, West Basin's investments. To date, three local banking institutions have taken advantage of this program.
Most recently, at Director Gray's urging, West Basin has started a scholarship program for high school graduates pursuing higher education in fields of study that can lad to work in the water industry. The scholarship program allows each West Basin Director to select two deserving students to receive a $1,000 scholarship. Criteria will soon be posted at www.westbasin.org.
Thanks to Director Gray's leadership, West Basin has been selected for several awards and recognitions. Examples include the 2007 selection of West Basin by Southern California Edison's prestigious "Excellence in Energy Award," the Global Water Intelligence publication's "Public Water Agency of the Year" award and recent recognition of West Basin on the floor of the California Assembly by West Basin's delegation for the "It's Time to Get Serious" water conservation education and outreach program, led by Assemblymember Curren D. Price, of Inglewood.
Whether is it is recognizing her local businesses with awards for participating in West Basin's water conservation programs, standing out in a parking lot on a hot Saturday afternoon to provide low flush toilets for her constituents, or informing Inglewood block organizations about the current water crisis, Director Gray is a strong and engaged community advocate and an inspiration to both the community she serves and the West Basi organization she so ably leads.
Committed to public and community service, Director Gray has also been active in local government and community organizations. She has also served two terms in the Inglewood Unified School District from 1995 to 2003 where her colleagues appointed her President and Vice President for two terms. Director Gray was also elected Executive Board member for the Los Angeles Democratic Party Central Committee, 51st Assembly District.