Village News Reporter
Patti Townsend-Smith is the newest member of the Rainbow Municipal Water District board.
Townsend-Smith, who was elected to the Division 4 seat in November, was sworn into office Jan. 3 and attended her first board meeting as a director Jan. 24.
“The work will begin now. I have a lot to learn, but I’m ready, willing, and able to do so,” Townsend-Smith said.
She and her husband moved from Lake Elsinore to the Horse Creek Ridge community in September 2019. “We love it here,” she said.
She is originally from suburban Buffalo, living in Williamsville and then Tonawanda. She attended State University of New York at Buffalo before becoming a registered nurse.
Her husband at the time had family in California, so they moved to Anaheim Hills. “It’s probably the best thing that he did for me,” she said.
They bought a home in Dana Point in 1980 and lived there until their divorce in 2008. Townsend-Smith remarried in 2015. She had moved to Lake Elsinore after her divorce.
“I love my community there, but I love Fallbrook so much more,” Townsend-Smith said.
The property Townsend-Smith and her husband own includes citrus and wine grapes.
Townsend-Smith had four children from her first marriage and added two children after marrying her current husband. Her children range in age from 44 to 29.
She was a nurse for 40 years before retiring in 2014. During her first marriage, she and her husband owned a home interior store in Dana Point.
“I feel like I have some managerial skills,” Townsend-Smith said.
Even prior to her retirement she was involved in Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). “I’ve always volunteered throughout my life,” Townsend-Smith said.
The managerial skills and the volunteer work gave Townsend-Smith experience for a water district board seat. Concerns about Rainbow’s water quality gave her the desire.
“I’ve always been interested in water quality,” Townsend-Smith said. “That’s probably going to be one of my main objectives.”
Townsend-Smith notes that many Rainbow district residents are purchasing bottled water rather than using tap water provided by the district. “They’re feeling the need to buy clean water,” she said.
She hasn’t personally visited a water store but knows residents who have, and she plans to determine district resident feelings about Rainbow’s water. “I would personally like to talk with ratepayers,” Townsend‑Smith said.
The San Diego Aqueduct began delivering water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in November 1947. The Rainbow Municipal Water District was formed in 1953 to serve the Bonsall Heights Water District (which remained a separate retail agency until it was dissolved in 1975) and the Canonita, Morro, San Luis Rey Heights, Vallecitos, and Yucca mutual water companies.
“Some of the infrastructure that we have here in Fallbrook was given to us by Camp Pendleton in the 1940s,” Townsend-Smith said. “Maybe we need to do some infrastructure changes.”
During January, Townsend-Smith was able to look out her window at the rainfall, and she desires storage so that Rainbow can take advantage of the free water.
Townsend-Smith defeated incumbent Bill Stewart in the November 2022 election. Stewart had been on Rainbow’s Budget and Finance Committee, and Townsend-Smith was appointed to that committee Jan. 24. She had desired to serve on the Budget and Finance Committee.
“So far I’ve met some very nice people at the district, so I look forward to working with some very nice folks,” Townsend-Smith said.