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Stapleton Leaves Lasting Legacy on San Diego’s Water Supplies

After 23 years at the helm of the San Diego region’s wholesale water agency, General Manager Maureen Stapleton is stepping down – and leaving an enormous legacy.

“The positive impact of Maureen’s leadership of the Water Authority and management of this region’s water supply cannot be overstated,” said Jim Madaffer, chair of the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “She has also been an important leader in our civic affairs for three decades and has dedicated countless hours to the betterment of our entire region. She will be greatly missed.

“Her name is synonymous with water in San Diego – for good reason,” Madaffer said. “Since 1996, Maureen has guided a dynamic agency that continues aggressively developing a comprehensive array of water supply and infrastructure projects designed to diversify the region’s water resources and improve the region’s water supply reliability.”

Stapleton announced her plans today to the Board of Directors and staff. Upon Stapleton’s departure, Deputy General Manager Sandy Kerl, who has more than 25 years of experience in public administration including a decade at the Water Authority, will be the acting general manager while a search for the Water Authority’s next general manager is under way.

“The success of the Water Authority over the past two decades is testament to the vision of the Board of Directors, the passionate commitment and dedication of the Water Authority’s staff and management team, the partnership we forged with our 24 member agencies, and the unwavering support of the San Diego region’s civic leaders,” Stapleton said. “I am immensely proud of our shared accomplishments, and I will greatly miss my Water Authority colleagues and esprit de corps we shared carrying out the Water Authority’s mission to provide our region with a safe and reliable water supply.”

‘Instrumental in the growth and development of our region’

Former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, now President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, called Stapleton “instrumental in the growth and development of our region. Under Maureen’s leadership, the Water Authority has helped propel San Diego’s economy by ensuring our region has a diversified, highly reliable water supply – and the infrastructure system needed to produce and treat water, store it, and deliver it to millions of San Diegans.”

Stapleton’s career includes many milestones, including successfully negotiation the landmark 2003 Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement, the nation’s largest farm-to-urban water conservation-and-transfer agreement that remains a cornerstone of water management in the Southwest.

Under her guidance, the Water Authority implemented cutting-edge urban water conservation programs that have helped to reduce per capita water use in the San Diego region by more than 40 percent since 1990.

In 2013, the Water Authority won the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies’ Platinum Award for Utility Excellence, the organization’s highest honor for outstanding achievement in implementing nationally recognized best practices for effective utility management. Three years later, AMWA bestowed its Sustainable Water Utility Management Award on the Water Authority, saying the agency’s “sustainability mindset saves ratepayers money, reduces the environmental impacts of projects and operations, conserves energy and water, and helps the agency thrive in a changing climate.”

Agency mission and projects continue to move ahead

In 2017, the Association of California Water Agencies presented the Water Authority with the Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award for Excellence for innovation and excellence in water resources management with its addition of supplies from the Carlsbad Desalination Project – the largest seawater desalination plant in the Americas.

The same year, the Water Authority won the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award – the top international engineering award – for having the foresight and dedication to build the Emergency & Carryover Storage Project. That $1.5 billion system of dams, reservoirs, pump stations, pipelines and tunnels, to protect the region’s 3.3 million people and $220 billion economy from extended dry periods or emergencies that could disrupt imported water deliveries.

Said Madaffer: “While Maureen’s departure will leave a significant hole, I’m confident in the leadership team that we have assembled both on the Board of Directors at the senior staff level so that the important work of the Water Authority will continue with the same diligence as it has for decades.”

Before And After: See California’s Monster Snow Year By Satellite

A rolling conveyor belt of storms this winter has left the Sierra Nevada blanketed in a thick layer of snow. The year started modestly, with the snowpack measuring around 70 percent of average on the first of the year. A robust January and February has brought the snowpack up to around 145 percent of normal for this time of year. April 1 typically marks the peak of Sierra snowpack accumulation and the start of the spring runoff. Move the sliders below to view the terrain before and after snowstorms.

Maureen Stapleton Retiring; County Water Authority ‘Iron Lady’ Since 1995

Maureen A. Stapleton, general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority since 1995, is planning to retire, the agency said Wednesday. “The positive impact of Maureen’s leadership of the Water Authority and management of this region’s water supply cannot be overstated,” said Jim Madaffer, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “She has also been an important leader in our civic affairs for three decades and has dedicated countless hours to the betterment of our entire region. She will be greatly missed.”

SD County Water Authority General Manager Announces Intent To Retire After Almost 25 years

San Diego County Water Authority General Manager Maureen Stapleton announced her intent to retire today after nearly 25 years at the agency’s helm. Stapleton was appointed general manager in December 1995. Since then, she has received awards from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego Press Club and the Association of California Water Agencies for her efforts to keep the county’s water supply stable and healthy. Stapleton tipped her hat to the agency’s Board of Directors and the agency’s “unwavering support of the San Diego region’s civic leaders” in her announcement.

California Wastes So Much Of Its Rainwater. Here’s Why

California’s wet winter has dumped an estimated 18 trillion gallons of rain in February alone. But much of it is simply going down the drain. In what has become a source of much concern in a state prone to droughts and water shortages, the vast majority of rainwater in urban areas flows into storm drains and is eventually lost to the Pacific Ocean.

Rain, Heavy Snow Expected With Latest Storm In San Diego County

A low-pressure system is expected to reach San Diego County Wednesday, bringing precipitation and the possibility of heavy snowfall in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service. Frigid temperatures this morning prompted the NWS to issue a frost advisory that will last until 9 a.m. in parts of the inland valleys and deserts, including Escondido, Poway, San Marcos, Santee and Borrego Springs. The advisory indicates a likelihood of temperatures dropping to upper-20s to low-30s.

Showdown Over Water Bill Averted, Clearing Way For Arizona To Finish Colorado River Deal

Proposed water legislation that might have upended Arizona’s Colorado River drought plan was set aside by a leading Republican lawmaker following a day of tense debate. The dispute over the bill pitted House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who introduced the measure on behalf of a group of farmers and ranchers, against the Gila River Indian Community, whose leader threatened to pull out of the drought deal if the bill went forward.

Pricing California’s Water During The Drought: Can Rate Structures Provide An Incentive For Conservation?

The relationship between water pricing and water use is more nuanced than basic economic theory on supply and demand suggests. That’s what the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (EFC) found in a recent study on water pricing during the California drought. California’s severe drought and statewide conservation mandate provided an opportunity to analyze the effects of pricing strategies as a tool to prevent wasteful water use. In 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board was charged with implementing a reduction of 25 percent on the state’s local water supply agencies.