Shana Epstein, Ventura Water’s general manager for almost six years, is leaving her job to work as the Public Works Director for the City of Beverly Hills. Joe McDermott, currently Ventura Water’s assistant general manager, will serve as the interim general manager.
“I have tremendous appreciation and gratitude for Ventura Water’s customers and its staff who trusted me as its first general manager to create a sustainable water organization,” Epstein said.
“We have worked hard and I know as I move on to other career opportunities that the team at Ventura Water will continue to strive to provide vitality to its customers. So with a bittersweet farewell, I want to thank you – our customers – for being partners with us in achieving these goals.”
Under her leadership, Ventura Water promised its customers to be “a trusted life source for generations.” To that end, Epstein and her team have launched a number of projects that are underway this year to assist in achieving that promise. They include: State Water Project Interconnect, Potable Reuse, Automated Meter Infrastructure, pipeline replacement programs, and Water Wise 2.0.
“These projects, complimented with the day-to-day quality control and operations of Ventura Water, will create new water supply, promote efficiency for demand side management, and meet or exceed water quality standards. All these accomplishments ensure our customers a reliable water future,” Epstein said.
Epstein has been an innovative leader who led Ventura Water to achieve many important accomplishments, rising to the challenge posed by five years of drought.
In 2014, Epstein oversaw the Water Shortage Task Force as this volunteer group of citizens balanced the need to price water fairly, promote conservation and maintain infrastructure reinvestment when Ventura Water overhauled water rates and pricing as a result of the drought.
Under Epstein’s leadership, Ventura Water created and led many successful citywide outreach efforts to empower Ventura customers to conserve water. The “Dirty Car” campaign was the subject of a complimentary article in the Wall Street Journal in September 2014 and it was acknowledged by the state Save Our Water campaign. Her success included leading Ventura Water customers to exceed the state’s 16 percent conservation mandated in 2015, which led to Ventura Water being featured in a positive Los Angeles Times article in November 2015 on the state’s biggest and most creative water savers. In addition, the state and federal government awarded $2 million in efficiency grants towards Ventura’s efforts. Other
public engagement conservation campaigns have included “Hey Ventura, What’s Your Shower Song?,” to encourage residents to take shorter showers, Capture Conservation, a photo contest encouraging customers to share their photos of saving water on Ventura Water’s social media, and the annual Water: Take 1 Online Short Film Festival that uses short films as a medium to promote local and global water conservation awareness.
Another important and successful initiative that Epstein launched is the VenturaWaterPure Potable Reuse Demonstration Facility, which tested potable reuse as a renewable resource that will provide a cost-effective and sustainable supply of high quality water, and allow Ventura to diversify its water supply. As a result, VenturaWaterPure is poised to be one of the first Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) facilities to be implemented in California.