Written by Sebastian Acosta
Jennifer DeMeo has been elected unanimously by the Fallbrook Public Utility board of directors to serve as board president, making her the first woman in the company’s near-100 year history to be appointed to the position.
Formed on June 5, 1922 with the purpose of serving water from wells along the San Luis Rey River, the FPUD initially covered only 500 acres. Eventually, additional groundwater supplies were developed from both the San Luis Rey River and the Santa Margarita River. Now, the FPUD has expanded to 35,000 customers across 44 square miles.
DeMeo was first elected in 2016. Since then, the company’s 70-year-old legal battle to use local, cheaper water from the Santa Margarita River has made incredible progress. As a result, without the future need for expensive imported water, local water will soon be supplying Fallbrook’s taps at a much lower cost.
Due to a combination of droughts, decreasing water demands, and infrastructure maintenance, pressure has recently been put onto FPUD to control and mitigate the ever-increasing cost of imported water. In an effort to save millions of dollars per year, the company is seeking to pursue the legally complicated effort of purchasing imported water from Riverside County and detaching from the San Diego County Water Authority
The Local Agency Formation Commission is expected to vote on the detachment in 2021; if approved, it will go to Fallbrook voters.
DeMeo is now serving her second term, and, since 2018, has been FPUD’s representative on the Association of California Water Agencies Joint Power Insurance Authority (JPIA) insurance board.
She is currently working as a writer to publish next year, and has been active in the Republican Party in San Diego County, even serving as an alternate at the party’s Central Committee meeting for her husband, Lee DeMeo.
The Republican Party has provided constant support for Jennifer DeMeo, and will continue to do so in her new role.
Photo via FPUD Twitter