Ventura Water making waves

Susan Rungren began her career with the City of Ventura in 1999.

Ventura Water has announced that Susan Rungren has been selected as the Assistant General Manager for the City’s water and wastewater utility. Rungren will fill a key management position that supports the City Council’s priority of maintaining a sustainable environment by diversifying and protecting Ventura’s local water resources.

In her new role, Mrs. Rungren will shepherd key future water supply projects such as the State Water Interconnection Project and the VenturaWaterPure project that will maximize the reuse of recycled water. She will work closely with Ventura Water, the Public Works Department, as well as stakeholders and community organizations to meet long term water supply demands.

Mrs. Rungren began her career with the City of Ventura in 1999 as the Utilities Engineer for the City’s Water and Wastewater Divisions and has served as the Water Resource Manager for the last seven years. She is a licensed Professional Engineer with professional affiliations including the Association of California Water Agencies of Ventura County and the Association of California Water Agencies. Rungren has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University.

Deputy Mayor Matt LaVere said, “Expanding local water supplies, and improving water quality are key ingredients to diversify and protect Ventura’s 100% local water resources. We are pleased to have Susan’s water industry expertise and experience as we look to create and build a more sustainable water future for Ventura.”

Ventura Water was awarded the statewide winner of the Community Engagement and Outreach Project of the Year by the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) for educating local youth about water sustainability. The winning program is in collaboration with the MERITO® Foundation, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to providing meaningful watershed experiences to multicultural youth.

The program has provided an opportunity for more than 500 local youth to learn about the value of water through hands-on water quality testing and field data collection at Ventura’s wild life ponds. Additionally, Ventura Water hosted a water conservation challenge for participating elementary schools wherein students were tasked to develop a water conservation plan.

The MERITO® program strives to connect the classroom experience with field interaction for students to better understand the relationship of water treatment technologies and the role that it plays in preserving the environment. Since 2005, MERITO® has reached over 10 million people through ocean conservation outreach projects, immersed over 15,000 students on earth and ocean science and issues, and has raised the capacity of more than 300 teachers and 100 Marine Protected Areas practitioners in the areas of ocean science and resource protection.

“Students learn water quality sampling and testing techniques, how wastewater is treated and purified to near drinking water quality standards, and about future plans to implement a new potable reuse facility. It gives students a new appreciation for what most people take for granted,” said Kevin Brown, Ventura Water General Manager.

Field trips to the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility helped students to explore a wide range of environmental issues and water infrastructure. “In this type of an atmosphere, students can establish connections between fresh water and ocean water, as well as ascertain the water conservation issues particular to their local watersheds. They also learn about stewardship and how water quality plays into the health and sustainability of our environment,” said Rocio Lozano-Knowlton, Executive Director and Founder of MERITO® Foundation.

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