Emerging Leader: Keith Backus, Jurupa Community Services District

Emerging Leaders, Members in the News

Keith Backus, Engineering Services Supervisor, Jurupa Community Services District

When Keith Backus started out as a meter reader 15 years ago, he probably had little idea that providing clean water to his community would be his life’s work.

But now, as engineering services supervisor for the Jurupa Community Services District (JCSD), that’s exactly how it’s turned out.

“I grew up here,” he says. “I have a good feeling about us being the generational supplier of water for years to come.  Once I got into it, I loved it. We strive to deliver high-quality clean potable water to our customers.”

Along the way, Backus earned a professional construction management certificate from San Diego State University and attained his level 2 water distribution classification. At JCSD, he’s moved up through the ranks, holding positions as a meter reader, records clerk, and an engineering technician.

Today he’s working on a number of significant projects.  One involves establishing treatment facilities at two of the district’s wellheads. The treatment will use ion exchange to remove PFAS and other contaminants, enabling JCSD to recover and deliver 5,500 to 6,000 additional gallons of clean water per minute to customers.

Another, much bigger, is a 66,000 linear-foot, 36-inch diameter pipeline from the Cucamonga Valley Water District to carry up to 10,000 acre-feet of imported water to the JCSD system. Price tag is around $66 million, and it’s scheduled to be completed in 2023-25.

While those projects are challenging enough, Backus says the COVID-19 pandemic has presented even tougher obstacles. “We’ve had to learn and adapt,” he says. “We’ve had to work remotely, stay in touch, embrace digital operations.”

“We’re jumping into a new century, and I don’t see us going back again.”

Backus thrives on challenges like these. “I enjoy growing, being part of the change, being part of a new generation of water. I’m a team kind of guy, and I’m happy to be on a great team.”