Gay Desert Hot Springs


Posted on November 2, 2022

Posted on October 6, 2022 Posted by the outstanding, award-winning Journalist Cindy Uken | Oct 6, 2022 | News, Politics


Nancy Wright, who currently serves as vice president of the Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors, is seeking reelection in Division 1. 

She and her husband, Pete, have owned a local construction company since 1977.

Wright is being challenged in her bid by a sole opponent — Amber Duff, a payroll administrator and parent.

In June 2020, MSWD an ordinance, establishing the election of members of the Board of Directors by five divisions, establishing the boundaries and identification number of each division, and establishing the election order of each division. Adoption of the Ordinance was the final step in the transition to by-division elections as per the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) process.

Uken Report (UR) reached out to both candidates with identical questions. Following are Wright’s responses.

UR: Who or what motivated you to run for MSWD Board?

Nancy Wright: I have served on the MSWD board since 1988, the 34 years of experience, knowledge and understanding I have acquired about our water district, our water supply and our water rights has made me uniquely qualified for the job and has compelled me to continue to use that knowledge to benefit not only us but future generations.

UR: If elected what knowledge, experience and/or expertise would you bring to the role?

Nancy Wright: Working in the California water world for the better part of two decades I have acquired a short term and long-term understanding of what we need to do here at MSWD in order to have a reliable and sustainable water supply at the lowest possible costs.

My historical knowledge of MSWD is unprecedented and plays a big role in the board’s duty as the policy makers for the district.

UR: What makes you better fit than your opponent for the position?

Nancy Wright: I moved here in 1973 where I met and married my husband, and we raised our two children. I have been a long-time active member of this community and a member of the DHS Women’s Club since 1987.

I know and understand the economics of the district and my 10 years of experience being a Commissioner on the Riverside County Local Agency Formation Commission; (LAFCO) have given me a more rounded insight to what is needed to run a successful Special District of the State of California, such as MSWD.  Also being appointed by four governors since 2000 to the CA Regional Water Quality Control Board, Colorado River Basin Region, I have the understanding and knowledge of what MSWD needs to do in order to supply us with clean and safe water.

I have a good working relationship with our local, state and federal representatives.   Over the past 12 years I have represented MSWD on the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, Energy and Environmental Resources Committee and the Coachella Valley Conservation Commission which includes the nine eastern Riverside County Cities, Riverside County Supervisors, Tribal leaders, Coachella Valley Water District and the Imperial Irrigation District.

Experience and dedication really does make the difference, especially when it comes to our water.

In my personal life my husband, Pete, and I have owned and operated our local General Contracting Company, since 1977.  Having knowledge of the building industry is very helpful with many things a water district deals with on a daily basis.

For more info, please visit my website.   

UR: Is MSWD doing enough in the area of conservation?  Why or why not?  If not, what do you believe should be done?

Nancy Wright: MSWD already has a Drought Contingency Plan in place that was coordinated with the Coachella Valley Integrated Regional Water Management Group so that there is a sense of consistency throughout the whole Coachella Valley with our conservation and drought regulations.    

As the drought continues and the Governor calls for stricter drought regulations, most of our customers are already in compliance with the current regulations and MSWD has some of the lowest gallons per day per capita in the valley.  We need to keep looking for money to offer our customers incentives to help them conserve water inside and outside their homes.  Continuing with our water awareness programs, such as, Water 101 at the DHS Library and our Groundwater Guardian Program working with Palm Springs Unified School District and the Wildlands Conservancy, implementing it in classroom and field trip programs, to inspire students and their families to care for and about their Groundwater, will always be a big part of MSWD duties to the community, it is a way of life.

UR: What is your No. 1 priority if elected and how will you achieve it knowing you’re only one vote on the board?

Nancy Wright: Water is my No. 1 priority.  At this point in time, I would have to say due to the drought and the need for groundwater replenishment water and with the $68 Million State Grant that MSWD has been awarded that will pay for 100% of the construction costs of our new MSWD Regional Water Reclamation Facility, my priority would be to take the next step and invest in upgrading the plant to be capable of treating the water so it could be recycled for our benefit and the benefit of the Coachella Valley as a whole.

Recycling of our water will provide us with a more reliable source of sustainable water that will help provide us with a more reliable and sustainable water supply, not only for us but for future generations.

Who would vote “no” on that?

UR: Do you believe MSWD should consolidate with DWA?  Why or why not?

Nancy Wright: The MSWD jurisdiction overlies all four groundwater basins of the Coachella Valley, and it has rights to pump from all 4 basins.  So why would we want to give that right up?  Better question is, why has Desert Water Agency worked so hard to try to take that right away from MSWD?

I do not see any advantages or cost savings for MSWD customers by consolidating with DWA who has no connections or sense of community with MSWD customers.

One thing I have learned about the dynamics of water in the Coachella Valley is that no one really cares about our water like we do, here, at the local level. MSWD is a County Water District and was formed to manage the groundwater it provides to its customers, since it was formed by a vote of the people in 1953.  DWA was formed by a vote of the California legislatures in 1961, not a vote of the people.

Keeping local control of our water is keeping control of our own destiny.