The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors voted unanimously on August 24 to appoint Dan Denham as general manager, following the retirement of former General Manager Sandra L. Kerl in June.
Denham has served in several leadership capacities with the Water Authority for the past 17 years, including his most recent post as deputy general manager. In that role, he oversaw the MWD and Colorado River programs, along with the Engineering, Water Resources, and Operations & Maintenance departments. Denham also continues to oversee the implementation of the conserved water transfer agreement between the Water Authority and the Imperial Irrigation District, the cornerstone of the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement. The QSA has enabled California to live within its 4.4 million-acre-foot annual apportionment of the Colorado River and helped support the long-term management of the river. As a commissioner on the Quantification Settlement Agreement Joint Powers Authority, Denham leads the Water Authority’s fulfillment of environmental mitigation obligations and legislative advocacy efforts, most notably at the Salton Sea.
“We are fortunate to have Dan’s knowledge of the San Diego County Water Authority and his depth of experience managing multiple programs, including the landmark agreements that have ensured a safe and reliable water supply for San Diego County,” said Mel Katz, chair of the Water Authority Board.
As general manager, Denham said that along with his priorities in serving the San Diego region and the Water Authority’s member agencies, he looks forward to continuing to work with the Water Authority’s QSA partners to address critical issues, like the future of the river in light of climate change, to ensure California’s high priority rights are protected and that flexible solutions are found that will allow the river to continue to serve all users.
“The Water Authority and our partners have a long history of finding collaborative solutions to the issues we have in common,” Denham said. “This is a critical time as we consider the future of the river, which makes it all that much more important that we continue to engage in discussions as partners to make sure California has a strong and united voice on the river. That includes making sure the rest of the Basin understands the Salton Sea is an important part of the Colorado River Basin and must be addressed in the long-term planning for the river.”
Before joining the Water Authority in 2006, Denham served in various capacities at the City of San Diego’s Metropolitan Wastewater Department, Financial Management Department and Mayor’s Office. Denham holds undergraduate degrees in public administration and economics, and a graduate degree in public administration — all from San Diego State University. Denham is a member of the Citizens Forum of the U.S. Section of the International Boundary & Water Commission.
The General Manager’s Office manages and directs the activities of approximately 250 Water Authority staff. The office implements the Board’s Strategic Plan and policies through programs in the Business Plan; oversees the Water Authority’s extensive infrastructure system; communicates and advocates policy positions and programs of the Water Authority to local, state, and federal officials and agencies; and supports the Board of Directors.