Utility Execs Join WateReuse Board

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WateReuse, an organization for applied research, education and advocacy on alternative water supply development, recently appointed two new members to serve on its board of directors. Halla Razak, the public utilities director for the City of San Diego, and Gilbert Trejo, the chief technical officer for El Paso Water Utilities, begin service effective May 2015.

Razak and Trejo will serve on the Board of Directors for both the WateReuse Association and the WateReuse Research Foundation.

“These two new directors bring the knowledge, leadership skills and passion we need to continue to support our membership in providing a safe and sustainable water supply to communities everywhere,” said WateReuse Association President Robert Johnson of McManus and Johnson Consulting in a press release.

“With the impacts of climate change, drought and environmental degradation, there has never been a more important time for WateReuse to provide thought leadership and solutions-oriented research. We are privileged to have two people of this caliber as part of our leadership,” added WateReuse Research Foundation Chair Doug Owen of ARCADIS.

Razak is responsible for the daily operation of San Diego’s water, wastewater and regional wastewater subsystem, as well as planning to ensure the future reliability of these services. These systems provide water, recycled water and wastewater services to more than 1.3 million customers. The regional wastewater system has sufficient capacity to accommodate a regional population in excess of 2.5 million. The wastewater system covers approximately 450 square miles with a population of over 2.2 million.  

Under Razak’s leadership, the San Diego Public Utilities Department is currently developing a unique water reuse program that will help increase water supply reliability for the future of San Diego while also ensuring environmental protection for the ocean environment.

Trejo’s management, leadership and creativity are yielding astounding results for El Paso. He manages a technical services portfolio, which includes engineering, planning and development, project and construction management for all utilities — water, wastewater, reclaimed water and stormwater. El Paso Water Utilities is also developing an $82 million advanced water treatment plant that will turn treated water from the Mission Valley’s Bustamante Wastewater Treatment Plant into purified drinking water.

Trejo advocates for cross-departmental collaboration and coordinates closely with his utility’s communications and marketing team to ensure complete transparency with stakeholders and customers alike on any new development. He is a published engineer on several works discussing projects such as potable reuse and water infrastructure.

Razak and Trejo are the first new members appointed to the WateReuse boards since the February 2015 adoption of a leadership merger plan in which directors will simultaneously serve on the boards for both the WateReuse Association and the WateReuse Research Foundation to maximize strategic collaboration. The full merger will occur over the next three years as existing Board terms conclude.

About WateReuse
The WateReuse Association and the WateReuse Research Foundation provide a comprehensive and complementary approach to increasing water reuse. The WateReuse Association is a nonprofit coalition of utilities, government agencies and industry that advocates for laws, policies and funding to promote water reuse. The WateReuse Research Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization that conducts research to improve the treatment, distribution and acceptance of water reuse. Both organizations play an important role in education. The Research Foundation creates educational tools and the Association uses those tools educate policymakers and the public on the science, economic value and environmental benefits of treating water to safely use it for a specific purpose, such as irrigation, manufacturing and drinking water.


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