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Water Authority Congratulates MWD on Selection of New General Manager

June 9, 2021 – “It is with great pleasure that I congratulate Chairwoman Gloria Gray and the MWD Board of Directors on the selection of Adel Hagekhalil to serve as the district’s next General Manager. 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 addition to his demonstrated skills as an agency manager and water policy leader, Adel brings to the MWD table a highly collaborative style of leadership and commitment to meet the unique needs of each of the district’s 26 member agencies. He is also committed to continuing his advocacy to address equity and environmental and social justice issues impacting Southern California’s underserved communities.

“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. 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.

“Importantly, Adel received strong support from employees who have worked for him, as well as from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Los Angeles City Council, and other officials for whom he worked and to whom he reported. He is known by all to be an inclusive leader, a bridge-builder, and an advocate for the environment, social justice, and underserved communities. Numerous San Diego County elected officials, labor, business, and community groups joined in writing letters of support for Adel’s appointment.

“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.”

— Gary Croucher, Board Chair, San Diego County Water Authority

 Note: Hagekhalil is scheduled to meet with the Water Authority’s Board of Directors at its June 24 board meeting.

Water-Use Efficiency, Investments Protect Region as Drought Impacts Spread

“Governor Newsom’s latest drought emergency declaration is a grim reminder of the growing water supply challenges across California – and of the value of three decades of our collective dedication to use water efficiently combined with strategic investments that protect San Diego County from dry years. Thanks to efforts of ratepayers, the Water Authority, and our 24 member agencies, we have sufficient water supplies for 2021 and the foreseeable future.

Our regional adoption of water-use efficiency measures is a major piece of our strategy, with per capita water use falling by almost half over 30 years. At the same time, the rates we pay for water have been invested in new water sources along with major dams and reservoirs that are showing their worth more with each passing day.” – Gary Croucher, Board Chair, San Diego County Water Authority

Water-Use Efficiency, Investments Protect Region as Drought Impacts Spread

Board Chair thanks ratepayers, member agencies

 May 11, 2021 – “Governor Newsom’s latest drought emergency declaration is a grim reminder of the growing water supply challenges across California – and of the value of three decades of our collective dedication to use water efficiently combined with strategic investments that protect San Diego County from dry years. Thanks to efforts of ratepayers, the Water Authority, and our 24 member agencies, we have sufficient water supplies for 2021 and the foreseeable future. Our regional adoption of water-use efficiency measures is a major piece of our strategy, with per capita water use falling by almost half over 30 years. At the same time, the rates we pay for water have been invested in new water sources along with major dams and reservoirs that are showing their worth more with each passing day.” – Gary Croucher, Board Chair, San Diego County Water Authority

Gary Croucher-Board Chair-San Diego County Water Authority-Primary

Investments Protect San Diego Region from Drought

It has been a very busy few weeks in the water world, with the governor declaring a drought emergency in two Northern California counties and increased discussions across the West about how to manage water through a very dry year.

While the challenges are real in some parts of the state, I applaud Governor Newsom for taking a targeted, flexible, and iterative approach to drought management. This approach provides support for individual regions that are suffering from drought while also recognizing regions like San Diego County that have sufficient water supplies due to three decades of investments in supply reliability.

Water Portfolio Strategy

The governor’s Water Portfolio Strategy aligns with our region’s long-term investments in a diversified water portfolio, desalinated seawater, conserved water from Imperial County, local water-use efficiency measures, member agency recycled water and local supply projects, and increased water storage. It’s especially important to highlight the efforts of our ratepayers, who have cut per capita water use by nearly half since 1990. Because of those actions and others, our residents have enough water for 2021 and future dry years.

In addition, the innovative and resilient water supply portfolio created by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies puts our region in a unique position to provide solutions that can help California weather this drought and future droughts – for instance, by storing water in Lake Mead. We look forward to working with the governor and his staff to collaborate on projects and programs where we can use our assets and experience to help areas that are hit hard by drought in the face of a changing climate.

Finally, I invite you to read my latest commentary in The San Diego Union-Tribune that addresses many of the issues being faced statewide and how that impacts San Diego County.

I hope you also take a moment to appreciate the cartoon in the U-T by Steve Breen, which perfectly captures our investments over the past three decades.

Steve Breen Drought cartoon-prepared-drought

Gov. Newsom Declares Drought Emergency in 2 California Counties

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a drought emergency for parched water systems along the Russian River watershed that serve hundreds of thousands of Californians in two counties. Most of the state is suffering severe drought conditions due to low rainfall and snowpack, but state water officials said that the other regions aren’t hit hard enough yet to declare a statewide emergency.

The targeted approach drew praise from the San Diego County Water Authority, which at this point has sufficient supply.

“We applaud Governor Newsom for taking a targeted, flexible, and iterative approach to drought management that provides support for individual regions that are suffering from drought while also recognizing regions like San Diego County that have sufficient water supplies due to three decades of investments in supply reliability,” said Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher.