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Election 2018: San Benito County Water District Division 4

Two candidates are running in November.
Doug Williams. Photo provided.

The San Benito County Water District controls the water supply to county residents and oversees the sustainability of the underground water supply. Division 4 covers part of Hollister and the unincorporated areas of the county. Robert Huenemann is currently director for this division and is being challenged by Doug Williams in the Nov. 6 election.


Doug Williams has lived in San Benito County his entire life and currently resides in Pacines with his wife. He has a background in agriculture, having spent 24 years working his family’s walnut farm. He is member of San Benito County Farm Bureau.

BENITOLINK: Why are you running for this office?

WILLIAMS: I decided to run for the SBC water director position because I’m concerned about our current and future water needs, not only in District 4 but in all of San Benito County. As San Benito continues to expand in urban development and more farmland is being developed our current water supplies could be in jeopardy due to current droughts and lack of imported water.

What issues are most important to your district?

District 4 contains the San Benito River project, which consists of the Hernandez Dam, Paicines Reservoir and a canal system that diverts water from the river to the Paicines Reservoir. This water is then released into the Tres Pinos Basin. Maintenance is of the utmost importance. Runoff water can carry certain amounts of sediment (silt). This silt can then be deposited into a reservoir’s canal system, reducing capacities. I would like to help work on solutions, sediment ponds and proper cleaning of existing silt from these reservoirs and canal systems to maximize our water capacities for available water storage.

What obstacles and challenges does the district face?

Another major obstacle the water district faces is dealing with SGMA—which is a state law requiring that groundwater basins are made sustainable. SBC Water District is considered the groundwater sustainability agency that is responsible for developing a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) to be completed by 2022 and must demonstrate sustainability by 2042. SGMA has laid out a required schedule with deadlines for GSP preparation, annual reporting and important updates every five years. A project of this magnitude requires a lot of extra work and attention. SGMA combined with day to day operations, securing water and maintaining the current infrastructure, plus planning for the future water needs of the county, is a large task ahead of the water district. I look forward to being a part of the solution.

What is the role of local government?

In my opinion, when a person is elected or appointed to a local government position, it is their duty to talk with and listen to their constituents and fairly represent them in the decisions being made.


Robert Huenemann has lived in San Benito County for 15 years has been a member of the Water Board since 2014.

Huenemann declined to speak with BenitoLink for this article.


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Carmeldb's picture
Carmel de Bertaut (Carmeldb)

I have a BA in Natural Science, a minor in environmental studies and an AA in communications studies. I have worked as an ecologist and as a writer.


Good luck and best wishes to Doug Williams with his SBCWD director's District 4 campaign and agenda to improve critical water management and conveyance infrastructure in San Benito County. 

Conversely, Robert Huenemann has provided egregiously incompetent leadership and representation in his capacity as SBCWD District 4 director. His failed political agenda to equalize the wholesale cost of water through deferred maintenance and restructured/upwardly adjusted water rates to ag users is based on abject ignorance, tin foil hat conspiracy theories and confirmation bias rather than water resource management best management practices and solid civil engineering principles.

District 4 constituents would do well to support the candidacy of a lifelong San Benito County rancher and Farm Bureau member who appears to have a superior understanding of water resource management under the auspices of the San Benito County Water District. 




Good luck Doug!  Thanks for running. 

Submitted by (Grant) on

Doug has common sense and a firm grasp of the challenges of water management. He will be a positive contributor to the SBCWD board if elected. I encourage district voters to support him.

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