The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors welcomed new Metropolitan Water District of Southern California General Manager Adel Hagekhalil at its June 24 meeting. Hagekhalil was greeted with applause and smiles during the meeting and at a reception at the Water Authority’s San Diego headquarters.
Board Chair Gary Croucher called Hagekhalil’s appointment a “prime opportunity” for MWD and the Water Authority to benefit water users throughout Southern California before Hagekhalil addressed the Board.
“Water is about people, and I want to salute you for what you have done in San Diego,” he said. “We know how important water is to our economy, we know how important it is for our businesses. Water is life.”
New MWD GM casts collaborative vision
“My goal is to work on uniting all of us together,” Hagekhalil continued. “What worked for us the last hundred years will not work for us the next hundred years; we have changing climate, we have fire days, we have a lot of challenges before us — we need to come together.”
For Hagekhalil, the key is collaboration. “My commitment is to work for every member agency,” he said. “[MWD] would not exist if it were not for the member agencies that we work for — and that’s a shift that I’m going to bring forward. We are here to serve you, we’re here to bring you together and our strength is in our unity, coming together and trusting each other.”
Hagekhalil ended his remarks as he started, with the theme of unity to benefit the region’s water ratepayers and the agencies that serve them.
“I want to commit to you that you have a partner in Metropolitan, as I know you will be there for us as a region,” he said. “You will be working with us to build the future of this region as a whole, with everyone, every member agency, so every person from Southern California and across the state and the region will have affordable, safe, and reliable water that we can be proud of. Because none of us want to turn on the faucet one day and not have water.”
Thanks @adelh2o, for visiting the San Diego County Water Authority today. We look forward to collaborating with you on planning and projects that will increase local water supply reliablity for the Southern California region. #cawater #onewater pic.twitter.com/W2kQdWfs6f
— Tish Berge (@tishberge) June 24, 2021
On June 8, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board of Directors voted to approve Hagekhalil as the next general manager, replacing outgoing GM Jeff Kightlinger. Hagekhalil’s is the 14th general manager in the district’s 93-year history.
At the time, said Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher said: “Adel is exactly the kind of person and visionary leader Southern California needs, especially as we experience another period of sustained drought, to help guide MWD as it faces important near- and long-term planning decisions impacting its water supply resources and water rates and charges. In short, Adel brings exactly the kind of experience and leadership we believe MWD needs at this time, and we look forward to continued collaboration with him.”
Sustainable local water supplies
“Adel’s selection sends an important signal that Southern California is planning to rely more on sustainable local water supplies in the future, while not abandoning our commitment to the Bay-Delta and Colorado River,” added Croucher. “These include Water Authority agency projects such as San Diego’s Pure Water Project, the East County Water Purification Project, and Oceanside’s Pure Water Project.”
Numerous San Diego County elected officials, labor, business, and community groups joined in writing letters of support for Adel’s appointment.