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San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District Responds to COVID-19 Outbreak

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 17, 2020                      

The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District has implemented limited access to its administrative office effective March 16 through April 3, 2020, in an abundance of caution for the employees who support the agency and the communities it serves, due to the COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus) outbreak. While Valley District, a State Water Contractor and wholesale water provider, does not serve retail customers directly, it does support the supplemental water needs of nearly 800,000 residents throughout 14 retail water agencies, cities, and mutual water companies, thereby coming into contact with the general public on a regular basis. The District will continue to serve water to all of its retail customers and does not anticipate ANY service disruption resulting from the public health response to Coronavirus. 

“We have a contingency plan in place that will ensure our operations staff is fully functional during this crisis and we will continue to meet our responsibility as the wholesale water provider throughout the San Bernardino Valley,” stated General Manager, Heather Dyer.

In order to safeguard the health and safety of its employees as well as the larger San Bernardino County communities, Valley District is proactively implementing stringent measures to reduce the risk of workplace transmission of COVID-19. 

“Our highest priority is protecting the health of our employees, their families, and the public, from further spread of the Coronavirus” stated Valley District Board President T. Milford Harrison. “Thanks to the technologies of today, our administrative employees can continue doing their jobs remotely without exposing themselves or others to unnecessary risk. We do not anticipate any lapse in business operations over the next several weeks.”

The public will be able to participate in Board Meetings and Board Workshops, either electronically, via teleconference or online video, or in-person, although space will be limited.

Valley District imports water from northern California via the State Water Project and provides raw water it to its retail water providers. This water is typically put into the ground to be stored as groundwater and pumped out and used at a later time. The District relies on its employees to provide a reliable, supplemental water supply through wholesale water deliveries to its retailers and cities throughout its 325 square mile service area. Precautionary measures are being taken internally to ensure ongoing operations of the District throughout its facilities and office.

The Coronavirus has no impact on the quality or supply of tap water. Throughout the San Bernardino Valley, your tap water is available, plentiful and safe. While it is always advisable to stock bottled water at home in case of emergencies that disrupt the water supply, Valley District does not expect this health outbreak to disrupt service to customers in the region. In California, tap water must be treated to the highest water quality standards as set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State Water Resources Control Board. Valley District encourages the community to reach out to your retail water provider to learn more about your local water supply.

Valley District’s Response Plan

  • Board Meetings and Board Workshops will continue to be held but will transition to include teleconference or web-based video options in order to allow the public to still engage in the meetings as required by the Brown Act. Members of the public may still come to the Board Meetings at District offices, although seating space will be limited due to social distancing guidelines.
  • Valley District employees will work remotely through at least April 3, 2020, in order to ensure safety in the work environment and prevent unnecessary exposure to the virus or transmission of the virus to others. All employees are available via email or phone, and can continue to be reached during regular business hours at their regular phone numbers.
  • Nonessential travel including attendance of conferences and meetings will be suspended through April.
  • Public events, including landscape workshops and classroom presentations, have been canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date.
  • Employees who show signs or symptoms of the Coronavirus are encouraged to self-quarantine and contact their healthcare provider immediately to seek necessary treatment.

The general public is encouraged to stay vigilant in order to remain healthy. Routine practices such as washing your hands for 20 seconds, covering your cough or sneeze, not shaking hands, and staying home if you think you are sick can help you, and those around you, remain healthy.

Valley District will continue to monitor the progress of the virus to determine appropriate next steps. For more information, please visit sbvmwd.com, call 909-387-9200 or email kristeenf@sbvmwd.com.

Timeline of Events

  • January 30, 2020: The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC).
  • January 31, 2020: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.
  • March 4, 2020: Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency as part of California's response to address the global outbreak of the Coronavirus. In response, the Valley District has been working behind-the-scenes to ensure there will be no interruption in service to its water retailers while maintaining the safety and health of its employees.
  • March 12, 2020: Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order (Executive Order N-25-20) limiting attendance at public assemblies and gatherings, make changes to requirements related to disability and unemployment insurance, and authorizing a local legislative body to make public meetings accessible telephonically or otherwise electronically to the public.

About San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District

Valley District is a State Water contractor that provides supplemental water to 14 retail water agencies from Fontana to Yucaipa, meeting the water needs of over 700,000 business and residential customers.  In addition to providing supplemental water from Northern California, Valley District is responsible for long-range water planning throughout its 325 square mile service area, including importing supplemental water, groundwater management, and wastewater and storm water disposal. For more information about Valley District and water use efficiency, visit www.sbvmwd.com or follow us on Facebook (@SBValleyDistrict) and Twitter (@SBVMWD).

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