Board of Directors
Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) is a special district established by the state legislature and certified by state officials on Jan. 16, 1918. CVWD is governed by a five-member Board of Directors, each of whom is elected to four-year terms by district voters, as required by the Riverside County Registrar of Voters. Each director lives in and represents one of five directorial divisions in the district, and is elected by voters who also reside in that division.
District policies are regulated by several state and federal agencies, including the State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Public Health and the California and United States Environmental Protection Agencies. Because the district is a government agency and not a private company, it is not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission.
Board of Directors
Division OneJohn Aguilar was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy effective Dec. 9, 2020. A longtime public servant, he served previously as Mayor and Councilperson of Cathedral City. He is the owner of the El Morocco Inn and Day Spa in Desert Hot Springs. John is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, Coachella Valley Mountain Conservancy, Desert Community Energy Authority and the League of California Cities Executive Committee, Riverside Division. John currently serves on the Boards of Shelter from the Storm and Cabot’s Pueblo Museum. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, Chico. John and his Partner Bruce have lived in the Coachella Valley since 1999 and reside in Cathedral City. John's term ends in 2022.
Anthony Bianco was elected to a 4-year term on the CVWD Board of Directors in 2016 and re-elected in 2020. He was born and raised in the Coachella Valley and graduated from Palm Desert High School. Anthony earned a degree in agricultural business and returned to the desert to work with his family’s farm. Anthony is currently farm manager with Anthony Vineyards, growing conventional and organic grapes, lemons, dates and mangos. He serves on the Living Desert Advisory Council, Coachella Valley Association of Governments Energy and Environment Committee, Coachella Valley Conservation Commission, Salton Sea Authority and Coachella Valley Golf and Water Task Force. Anthony’s community service includes participation with the Boys and Girls Club of the Coachella Valley, YMCA of the Desert, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Sacred Heart Church and School, and Palm Desert High School. Anthony lives in Palm Desert and has been happily married to his high school sweetheart, Tasha for 21 years. They have 2 teenage children.
Board President John Powell Jr. first served on the board through an appointed term from 1998 to 2000. He was elected to four-year terms in 2010, 2014 and 2018. John is president and chief executive officer of Peter Rabbit Farms, his family’s Coachella-based business, which he joined following graduation from Stanford University. John is a trustee representing California on the governing board of the Colorado River Water Users Association and is a former director and past chairman of the Western Growers Association. His community service includes involvement as former Chair of the Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Coachella Valley. The lifelong Coachella Valley resident and his wife Klysta live in Indian Wells and have two children and one grandson. John's term ends in 2022.
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Peter Nelson has been a member of the Coachella Valley Water District Board of Directors since 2000. Six of those years were as President, and four as Vice President of the Board. He served on the Salton Sea Authority from 2000 to 2014. Peter currently serves on the Colorado River Board, and the California Farm Water Coalition. He also served on the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee, a federal marketing order, from 2008-2012, and for six years with the Coachella Valley Resource Conservation District. In addition, Peter served on the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Farm Advisory Group. He is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Agricultural Business. Peter participates in groups ranging from the Association of California Water Agencies to the Colorado River Water Users Association. He has represented the District to a wide variety of state, federal, locally-elected and water industry officials. Peter is a grower of citrus, grapes and dates in the Coachella Valley, and has been involved in growing activities in the Palo Verde and Imperial valleys and Borrego Springs. Originally from the Bakersfield-Fresno area, he is now a 26-year resident of the Coachella Valley. Peter and his wife Darlene live in La Quinta, have 3 sons and 2 grandchildren. Peter's term ends in 2024.
Board Vice President Cástulo R. Estrada was elected to a four-year term on the board in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. He is the Utilities Manager at the City of Coachella. He is a native of the Eastern Coachella Valley, a graduate of Coachella Valley High School, and has a civil engineering degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He has served on the Salton Sea Authority Board of Directors since 2014, including serving as President of the Board in 2019/2020. Cástulo formed the Coachella Valley Disadvantaged Communities Task Force which works to secure access to safe affordable drinking water, wastewater and flood control services in historically disadvantaged Coachella Valley regions through strategic planning, funding procurement, needs assessment, and reporting – all in collaboration with community members and stakeholders. Cástulo was appointed in 2019, and reappointed in 2020, as a member of the State Water Resources Control Board's SAFER Program Advisory Group. He lives in the City of Coachella with his wife, Cindy, and two children. Cástulo's term ends in 2022.
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Below is an overview of Board of Director benefits:
Board Directors receive up to $223 per meeting attended with a maximum of 10 meetings per month and one meeting per day.
Form 806, Agency Reporting of Public Official Appointments
Medical Coverage for Directors and their families: Directors have the choice of a PPO or two HMO plans. Premiums are partially paid by the District. If the Director chooses not to enroll in the medical coverage, they are eligible to receive reimbursement for medical expenses up to $450 per month when covered by a non-District plan.
Directors who had served a minimum of 12 years, prior to January 2013, are eligible to receive Medicare Medigap insurance coverage for themselves and their spouses upon reaching Medicare eligibility. This benefit was eliminated in January 2013. No other Medical coverage is offered to Directors or their families upon leaving office, unless eligible for COBRA benefits.
Dental Plan and Vision Plan: Both dental and vision coverage are provided for District Directors and their dependents. Premiums are partially paid by the District. No dental or vision benefits are offered after leaving office.
Public Employees Retirement System (PERS): Directors of the Coachella Valley Water District do not participate in PERS.