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James Gumpel, general manager of Vallecitos Water District. Courtesy photo
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Vallecitos Water District: A culture that values customers, employees

Vallecitos Water District, led by General Manager James Gumpel, has been serving the San Marcos community since 1955. As a local government entity, they provide essential water, wastewater, and reclamation services to various areas in North San Diego County. Their commitment to sustainability and customer-focused decisions sets them apart, fostering a culture that values both their customers and employees. As members of the San Marcos Chamber, they aim to foster connections and support the community.

What does your business do? For more than 65 years, Vallecitos Water District has been your water and wastewater specialists, providing water, wastewater, and reclamation services to San Marcos; the community of Lake San Marcos; parts of Carlsbad, Escondido and Vista and other unincorporated areas in north San Diego County. Vallecitos Water District currently serves a population of more than 108,000 within its 45-square-mile boundary.  

What sets Vallecitos apart from others in your industry? Culture in our commitment to our customers as well as our employees. Decisions that affect our customers are carefully scrutinized by all levels of staff.  Terms like sustainability and generational equity are the cornerstone of many of the District decisions.  This commitment to our customers today and tomorrow is shared from the top, our Board, to our front-line staff.  

What question are you asked most frequently by customers? Usually, it is regarding the cost or safety of the public water supply.  Many customers experience a full day tour and education of the District called the Water Academy, which is held annually.  The commitments I mention above are on full display.  (Customers can sign up for this tour at 

What is your favorite business success story? As a new project manager, I was given the task on managing our recycled water treatment plant upgrade, which produces up to 5 million gallons of recycled water each day to be used at local cities, such as the City of Carlsbad. This enables us to recycle more than 70% of the wastewater collected from our customers. On the water side, I was the project manager for the 40 million- gallon Twin Oaks Reservoir. At that time, it was the largest prestressed concrete tank of its kind in the world.  

What motivated you to join The San Marcos Chamber? As a member of the community and a local employer, I feel it is important to support and connect with local leaders. 

What’s your best piece of business advice? Lead with integrity.  



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