Dan Masnada, SCVTV’s first “Newsmaker of the Week” in 2003, has announced his retirement as the General Manager of the Castaic Lake Water Agency after more than a dozen years in which he guided the Agency through unprecedented water supply management and planning efforts that have prepared the Santa Clarita Valley for drought and ensured a cost-effective, reliable supply of water for the community.
“It’s been a great run and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here at CLWA, and the relationships I’ve formed with Agency staff, our Directors, the local and statewide water community and the Santa Clarita Valley community at large,” Masnada said. “We’ve accomplished a great deal and I am most proud of the Agency’s contributions to diversify the SCV’s water supply portfolio, which has proved highly beneficial as California struggles to endure a historic drought.”
The CLWA Board of Directors plans to launch a search for Masnada’s successor this summer, said Board President Tom Campbell. Masnada is scheduled to continue serving as General Manager through the end of the year, then plans to work on special projects for the Agency until his retirement becomes official in September 2016.
“Dan’s leadership has been extraordinary,” Campbell said. “He’s skillfully guided CLWA through a series of significant challenges over the past 13 years. His vision of developing a diverse array of water management programs and supply sources has positioned our community to withstand water supply fluctuations — due to droughts and legal and regulatory imposed restrictions — that have had much more severe impacts on other communities throughout the state.”
Campbell said candidates from both within and outside the Agency will receive consideration, and the Board expects to make a hiring decision by no later than year’s end.
During his career in the water industry spanning three decades, Masnada has built a reputation throughout the state as a highly respected water executive and leader. As General Manager of CLWA, he has been responsible for the operation and management of the Agency, which serves a population of 280,000 as the local wholesaler of water from the State Water Project.
Masnada has been a strong advocate of a well-managed, diverse water supply portfolio that includes SWP water, other sources of water imported from outside the SCV, stored water for dry-year use, a nascent recycled water program and local groundwater pumped by the four local water retailers. He led CLWA through the expansion of both of its water treatment plants, more than doubling their capacity to meet the local retailers’ and their customers’ needs well into the future.
Also during Masnada’s tenure as General Manager, CLWA’s accomplishments include:
* Construction of the last main element of CLWA’s regional pipeline conveyance infrastructure that delivers water to the eastern part of the Valley (Sand Canyon pipeline, pump station and reservoir).
* Settlement of litigation, procurement of federal funding, planning, design, construction and start-up of pipeline and treatment facilities to remediate perchlorate contamination of groundwater emanating from the Whittaker-Bermite site, the single largest environmental challenge ever faced by the SCV.
* Contracting with water districts in Kern County to store the equivalent of four years of SCV imported water needs in Central Valley groundwater “banking” programs to meet dry-year demands.
* Acquiring an additional imported water supply from two Kern County water districts to supplement CLWA’s SWP supply, which further diversified the SCV’s water supply portfolio.
* Acquisition of Valencia Water Co., which, in combination with CLWA’s Santa Clarita Water Division, brought into local public ownership private water companies serving over 85 percent of the SCV businesses and residents.
* Starting up and commencing the first phase of the Valley’s recycled water program.
* Implementing two solar power projects that, in combination, make the Agency the largest generator of solar power in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys.
* In a collaborative effort with the local water retailers, development of the SCV Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP), a 40-year projection of water demand and supplies through buildout of the Valley consistent with the City’s and County’s 2010 One Valley One Vision general plan amendments.
* Successful defense of multiple lawsuits by local activist groups challenging the Agency’s efforts over the years to acquire additional water supplies, improve water supply reliability, bring retailers into local public ownership and plan for future growth.
Masnada attributed these successes to having a strong team at the water agency.
“No one person accomplished these things,” Masnada said. “The Agency’s success illustrates the power of teamwork and importance of creating a culture where each and every team member is empowered to make a real impact on the greater good of the organization and, more important, the community we serve.”
Prior to joining CLWA in 2002, Masnada served as Executive Director of the Central Coast Water Authority from 1992 to 2002. During his tenure at CCWA, he was responsible for the operation and management of the authority, and oversaw design and construction of the regional SWP treatment and conveyance facilities that serve 24 municipalities, water purveyors, and other entities in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.
Masnada is a member of the State Water Contractors Association Board of Directors, an organization that represents 27 of the 29 SWP contractors, and also serves on the SCV Chamber of Commerce and Valencia Water Company Boards of Directors. He is a registered civil engineer in California, Louisiana and Texas; and a registered petroleum engineer in California. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Santa Clara University and his master’s degree in civil engineering from Stanford University.
An avid snow skier, Masnada said he will miss his role with CLWA, but he’s looking forward to an active retirement. He added: “I can guarantee you my retirement plans include monitoring California’s snowpack, up close and personally.”