EBMUD board director named ACWA president

As statewide water issues swirl in the public eye, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today elected East Bay Municipal Utility District board member and Walnut Creek resident John A. Coleman as its president.

On the EBMUD board, Coleman represents water customers in Alamo, Blackhawk, Lafayette, the town of Danville and portions of San Ramon, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek.

ACWA is a statewide coalition that represents nearly 440 public agencies that collectively are responsible for 90 percent of the water delivered to cities, farms and businesses throughout California.

“The direction our state takes on water policy in the next two years will have a profound impact on the next generation of Californians and beyond. The issues challenging us are great: securing a dependable supply, restoring the Bay-Delta, protecting watersheds, managing groundwater and others. But the opportunities are equally great as innovation continues leading us towards improvements in water quality, water recycling and energy management,” he said.

Coleman will serve as ACWA president from January 2014 to December 2015. “We need to look at the critical role a clean, dependable water supply means to our economy, environment and future. I’m honored to be named president of ACWA at such a critical time for California water policy,” he said.

He previously was elected vice president of ACWA in December 2011 and served as president of the board of the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) from 2002 to 2004. This is the first time the same individual has presided over ACWA and CASA, two industry leaders on state water issues.

Coleman also currently chairs the Upper Mokelumne River Watershed Authority and the Freeport Regional Water Authority.

“John’s reputation for consensus-building and his effective negotiation skills have served the EBMUD ratepayers well as we sought a more reliable water supply in recent years and now examine how we will renew aging infrastructure for the next century. With more than two decades of public service in the water industry at this large, urban agency, John is well-poised to deliver balanced and knowledgeable leadership at the statewide level,” said Alexander R. Coate, EBMUD general manager.

When not in his role as public servant, Coleman is executive director of the Bay Planning Coalition, a nonprofit group that works on maritime, shoreline and other issues in Northern California. A sixth-generation Californian, Coleman is a Lafayette native, a graduate of UC Berkeley, an Eagle Scout and past Scoutmaster of Troop 243 in Lafayette.