A New Leader at Eastern

By Kris Polly 

Longtime Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) leader Joe Mouawad took over the agency’s top job as general manager in May 2021. In this month’s cover story, we speak with him about EMWD’s careful and long-term planning to decrease its dependence on imported water by investing in recycled water and desalination and increasing water use efficiency. 

Looking to another Southern California utility, we speak with Katie Evans, the director of communications and conservation at Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD). Based on data it collected about its customers’ needs and opinions, CVWD has launched a major public relations campaign, Your Water Is Our Promise, highlighting CVWD’s employees and their ties to the local community. 

We also speak with Oklahoma City Utilities Director Chris Browning about how the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust has reached over a remarkably large area of the state to secure reliable and sufficient water supplies for its large central Oklahoma customer base, netting a Platinum Award for Utility Excellence from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies in the process. 

When Chicagoland-area DuPage County needed a new flood control facility, it turned to an existing structure: a former quarry. We speak with DuPage County Stormwater Management Department Director Sarah Hunn and Deputy Director Chris Vonnahme about the construction and performance of the 2.7 billion gallon Elmhurst Quarry flood control facility. 

Finally, we receive an update on regulatory reform on the far side of the world. Elizabeth Soal writes about the sometimes-contentious progress of New Zealand’s major three waters reform, which would affect the way drinking water, wastewater, and storm water services are managed and delivered across the country. 

Finally, we are pleased to announce that Mr. Jeff Kightlinger, the longtime head of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, is joining Municipal Water Leader as our new contributing editor. Mr. Kightlinger knows the municipal water world inside and out, and his contributions to our magazine will be of great interest to our readers. 

Kris Polly is the editor-in-chief of Municipal Water Leader magazine and the president and CEO of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He can be contacted at kris.polly@waterstrategies.com