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Metropolitan Water District of Southern California-Adel Hagekhalil-GM

Water Authority Congratulates New MWD GM Adel Hagekhalil

On June 8, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board of Directors voted to approve Adel Hagekhalil as the next General Manager replacing Jeff Kightlinger, who announced his retirement. Hagekhalil is scheduled to meet with the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors at its June 24 board meeting

Adel Hagekhalil-MWD-General Manager

Adel Hagekhalil is the new general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Photo: Adel Hagekhalil

The San Diego County Water Authority issued the following statement by Board Chair Gary Croucher:

“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.”

Water Authority Board Approves 2020 Urban Water Management Plan

May 27, 2021 – The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors today approved the Water Authority’s 2020 Urban Water Management Plan for timely submission to the state. The plan highlights how regional investments in a “water portfolio approach” to supply management and a sustained emphasis on water-use efficiency mean that San Diego County will continue to have reliable water supplies through the 2045 planning horizon – even during multiple dry years.

San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy Gets $10,000 Grant From REI

The nonprofit San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy received a $10,000 grant for its Next to Nature program (N2N) from the REI Co-op. The program shows residents how to create sustainable landscapes that are beneficial for the environment. To show people how to develop eco-beneficial areas around their homes or businesses, the conservancy is working with locally based production company Condor Visual Media to put out six free webinars focusing on Landscape Site Design, Sustainable Gardening, Urban Green Infrastructure, Wildfire Risk Reduction, Water Management and Conservation and Landscape Material and Energy Management.

State Plans to Order Drought Restrictions, But it Doesn’t Have Good Water Data to Do It

As California descends deeper into drought, state regulators are planning to do something they’ve done few times in modern history: order thousands of people, farms, and even cities and towns that hold historic water rights to stop drawing water from the rivers, lakes and ponds they rely on.  The move is intended to make sure the dwindling flows in California’s waterways are reserved for those with the most senior water rights, as well as for fish and other wildlife.

Many of those with lesser rights would have to turn to storage, groundwater or another source, if they have it.  The problem, besides leaving several in a tough spot, is that the state doesn’t have an accurate tally of how much water is being pulled from its watersheds, nor who exactly is taking it.

A Few Lessons for California’s New Drought

We asked some colleagues for lessons that might be useful in managing the California’s new drought. Here is a first sampling of thoughts.

Positioned for the Future: San Diego County Water Authority General Manager Sandra L. Kerl

There have been many surprises and unanticipated outcomes in the long wake of the pandemic. Like most workplaces, the San Diego County Water Authority had to quickly adapt a year ago, and that process continues to evolve under the leadership of General Manager Sandra L. Kerl. In a conversation with California Water & Power, Kerl discusses how her organization has embraced change and continues to prepare for the future.

Opinion: As Drought Hits California, Long-Term Issues Loom

By the time this column is published, Northern California may be receiving some much-needed rain, and possibly some snow. However, late-season precipitation does not change the reality that California is in one of its periodic droughts after two dry years.

Major Northern California reservoirs are only about half-full due to scanty runoff from mountain snowpacks, farmers are getting tiny percentages of their normal water allotments, and local water agencies are beginning to impose restrictions on household use.

Welcome to the Board: Ismahan Abdullahi, City of San Diego

Ismahan Abdullahi was seated on the Board of Directors on January 25, 2021, representing the City of San Diego. Director Abdullahi serves on the Administrative and Finance and Engineering and Operations committees for the Water Authority.

Water World: After Nearly 40 years, Peter MacLaggan Leaves a Liquid Legacy

Every time someone turns on the tap in San Diego County, out flows the work of Peter MacLaggan.

MacLaggan was the point man in the construction of the Carlsbad desalination plant, a nearly $1 billion public-private partnership that since 2015 has supplied nearly 10 percent of the potable water consumed in the county.

Desalination relies on the virtually unlimited supply of water in the Pacific Ocean. It provides a safe, reliable source of local water in a region that for many years relied on supplies from hundreds of miles away and was subject to mechanical breakdowns, seasonal shortages and the whims of nature.

Welcome to the Board: Craig Elitharp, Vallecitos Water District

Craig Elitharp was seated on the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors on December 1, 2020, representing the Vallecitos Water District. Director Elitharp serves on the Legislation and Public Outreach and Water Planning and Environmental committees.