“When I was 14, my family went on a three-month road trip, and I got to know much of California,” says Scott Burritt, a native of steel town Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “From then on, I was determined to head here as soon as I graduated from high school, which is exactly what I did.”
Earning his degree from USC’s School of Public Policy — and accepted into the California Executive Fellowship Program via the governor’s office — Burritt gained government experience in Sacramento and Los Angeles before relocating to Palm Springs in 2013 (alongside his partner of 26 years and their two dogs) to work at the Coachella Valley Water District, where he oversees a team of 80.
Founded in 1918 to protect and conserve local water sources, CVWD (the desert’s largest water provider) serves 300,000 customers over a 1,000 square miles from Sky Valley to Salton Sea.
Water conservation is the issue that most concerns Burritt currently. “While we have a large aquifer, our goal as a community is to make it sustainable for future generations and for future economic growth,” he says, stressing that much of the Coachella Valley was developed between the ’70s and the early ’00s, when few water usage restrictions existed. “There are many properties with wall-to-wall turf, and we’re strongly encouraging them to convert at least portions of their turf to desert landscaping. We offer $3 per square foot turf rebates, and area cities may be offering matching rebates. We also provide rebates for smart controllers, irrigation nozzles, water-efficient washing machines and toilets, and hot water recirculating pumps. I encourage all customers to reduce water use, check their irrigation systems periodically for leaks, and report water waste at cvwd.org/waterwaste.”
VIDEO: Scott Burritt chats about managing water resources responsibly for the Coachella Valley.