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Gasca steps down from RMWD board

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Rainbow Municipal Water District is seeking a new board member to represent Division 3.

Miguel Gasca, who was appointed to the board in February 2017 to fill a vacancy and was re-elected in 2018 and 2022, announced at the Dec. 5 meeting that he was resigning from the board effective Dec. 31.

“He’s been a tremendous addition to our team,” Rainbow board president Hayden Hamilton said. “He will be sorely missed.”

Gasca has moved to Reno, Nevada, although he and his wife still own their Fallbrook home and will be visiting Greater Fallbrook from time to time, he said.

“I’ll be traveling back and forth,” Gasca said. “In a way, I’m kind of in both worlds.”

His official residence will be in Reno. Gasca turned 72 April 13, 2023, which required him to take distributions from his retirement accounts the following year. That distribution amount is subject to income taxes, and Nevada has no state income tax.

Although Gasca and his wife had been lifelong California residents, their youngest daughter attended the University of Nevada, which is in Reno, Nevada, and remained there after her graduation.

“She’s making some introductions for me,” Gasca said.

Gasca was born in Los Angeles and attended Saint Francis High School in La Cañada. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Loyola Marymount University in 1974. His field of concentration was water supply and waste treatment. Gasca lived in Running Springs, which is at the junction of state Route 330 and state Route 18, from 1974 to 1987. He was on the board of the Running Springs Water District from 1979 to 1987, including three years as the board president. He was also a board member and the programs chair of the San Bernardino County Association of Independent Special Districts.

The Running Springs Water District has not only water and sewer latent powers but also has a regional treatment plant and handles fire, emergency medical, lighting, and parks and recreation services for Running Springs. Gasca worked on master plans for the district’s services and also helped secure funding for the replacement of an eight-mile water main.

Water district board members receive per diem pay for their district activities, but Gasca’s full-time job was as an engineer for TRW/Northrup Grumman. He spent two years as the legislative committee chair of the San Bernardino/Riverside branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers and was also a delegate to the California Legislative Council for Professional Engineering.

Gasca lived in San Bernardino from 1987 to 2011. He retired from TRW/Northrop Grumman in 2009 and founded Apogean Group LLC, which utilizes senior scientists and engineers to provide consulting services.

Division 3 is the central part of the Rainbow Municipal Water District service area and includes the Gird Valley and Pala Mesa. The Gasca residence in Fallbrook is on Wilt Road. Gasca’s wife grew up in the North Park area of San Diego, and after Gasca retired, they began looking for homes in San Diego County and found one in Fallbrook.

Tory Walker held the Division 3 board seat before moving to Murrieta and resigning from the board. The Rainbow Municipal Water District's committees include the engineering and operations committee. Gasca attended an engineering and operations committee meeting and spoke with Walker, who was in the process of moving out of the district. Gasca was encouraged to seek the board vacancy.

Gasca spent nearly seven years on the Rainbow board as well as eight years on the Running Springs Water District board.

“Each had its challenges,” he said.

The challenges often involve balancing infrastructure improvements with keeping the cost of water as low as possible. Once the pump stations to provide water from north of the point where the San Diego County Water Authority takes over operation of the San Diego Aqueduct from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California are completed Rainbow will detach from the SDCWA and join the Eastern Municipal Water District, which will provide water to Rainbow at a lower rate.

“I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to extricate ourselves from the County Water Authority,” Gasca said.

Past reorganizations in California have involved consolidations, but a water district had not previously separated from a regional agency until Rainbow and Fallbrook Public Utility District voters approved the detachment from the CWA following approval from San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission.

“It’s never been done in the state,” Gasca said. “We were successful in getting done what needed to be done for the ratepayers, and I’m really happy about that.”

Board membership is not required to be on a Rainbow committee. During his years on the board, Gasca was involved in both the budget and finance committee and the engineering and operations committee. He has offered to remain active on the engineering and operations committee and has also offered to be on a ratepayers’ committee.

“I’m going to stay active in Fallbrook, too,” Gasca said. “I’m not going to disappear.”

Gasca also plans to be involved in civic activity in northern Nevada.

“I was always pretty active,” he said. “I’ll continue to help up here.”

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].


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