West Valley Water District Declares Local State of Emergency by Naseem Farooqi Mar 19, 2020 Member Submitted News RIALTO – The West Valley Water District (WVWD) Board of Directors held an emergency meeting to ratify a proclamation declaring a local state of emergency due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. WVWD Board President Channing Hawkins said, “Families throughout our community are experiencing difficult times and I want to reassure our ratepayers that our water quality and supply remain unaffected. We do not anticipate any disruptions in services.” The ratification follows the board of directors’ approval of an initial declaration in a special meeting on March 14. The Water District declaration accompanies federal and state declarations of emergency which allow the Water District to seek reimbursement from the federal government and state of California under The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. This federal law allows local agencies to be reimbursed for all expenses incurred in responding to a local emergency including employee salaries and emergency supplies. Recently, the Water District implemented measures required by the California State Senate Bill 998 (SB 998), known as the Water Shutoff Protection Act, which was signed into law by the governor. SB 998 prohibits any water agency from shutting off water services until a customer has been delinquent for at least 60 days. All California urban and community water systems must comply with these provisions by April 1, 2020. The new law is only applicable to residential customers. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Water District is also offering opportunities to apply for a payment plan if ratepayers are experiencing financial hardship. The WVWD also maintains several payment options that do not require visits to the customer service center. Ratepayers can make cash payments can be made at 7-Eleven convenience stores, CVS Pharmacy stores and Family Dollar stores. Ratepayers can also make credit- or debit-card payments online at www.wvwd.org or by phone at (909) 875-1804. The Water District will continue to live-stream meetings via Facebook and YouTube and is exploring options for two-way communications compatible with social distancing, isolation and self-quarantine tactics aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. For employees, the Board approved a telecommuting policy that allows non-essential employees to work remotely and has cancelled and/or delayed non-essential meetings and events.. The Water District also continues to take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by placing hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes in public areas and workstations, as well as increased janitorial services at the district office. The human resources department is providing customer service department employees with sanitary gloves to safeguard them from infection and contamination. Though the Water District is considering closing the customer service center and is actively working to ensure customer service representatives remain available by phone. For more information or questions regarding WVWD services and COVID-19 response, please call (909) 875-1804 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ### The West Valley Water District has proudly served the communities of Bloomington, Colton, Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino, and Jurupa Valley since 1952. Through name changes and consolidation, the mission has always remained the same: to provide customers with safe, high quality, and reliable water service at a reasonable rate and in a sustainable manner. The District provides water for 83,000 customers and is overseen by a five-member, publicly-elected board of directors.