Longtime EBMUD general manager to retire

Dennis M. Diemer, whose steady leadership has guided the East Bay Municipal Utility District through difficult times of drought, recession and brought an unprecedented era of peace and cooperation between previously warring water districts, announced Tuesday he is retiring from the District after 15 years as general manager.

Diemer, who came to EBMUD in 1981 as a young engineer in its Wastewater Division, has led the District through some major milestones including its internationally recognized Seismic Improvement Program and the historic Freeport Regional Water Project.

The $200 million, ten-year Seismic Improvement Program grew out of concerns raised by the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, and led to the retrofitting of major facilities to withstand the impacts of major earthquakes along nearby faults. It included the innovative construction of a bypass tunnel over the Hayward fault for the Claremont Tunnel – which brings water through the Oakland-Berkeley hills to 800,000 customers. The District also constructed an 11-mile Southern Loop pipeline to allow EBMUD another way to move water between the eastern and western parts of its service area.

His most significant accomplishment has to be his contribution to ending forty years of water wars between the East Bay and the Sacramento area, which led to the formation of a partnership that culminated in the billion dollar Freeport Regional Water Project. The joint effort will provide 85 million gallons of water a day to Sacramento to help protect its fragile groundwater basin from depletion and provide up to 100 million gallons of water a day to guard against a harsh drought in the East Bay.

A native of Los Angeles, Diemer received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Loyola University (Los Angeles) and his Master of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. He is a registered Civil Engineer with the State of California. Diemer and his wife, Ann, also a registered Civil Engineer, have three sons, Michael, John and Brian.

Prior to coming to EBMUD, Diemer worked for a leading consulting firm specializing in water and wastewater. As a project engineer, he was responsible for the design and construction of numerous water and wastewater treatment facilities.

For 15 years, Diemer guided EBMUD – one of the nation’s largest and most respected water and wastewater utilities – through many challenges including drought and recession.

“I feel very proud of what we have accomplished during my tenure,” said Diemer, who informed the Board of Directors Tuesday that he would stay on through the year to allow for a smooth transition. “The District has a tremendously talented staff and leadership team in place and with the guidance of EBMUD’s Board I feel very confident the District will continue to provide outstanding water and wastewater service to its customers well into the future.”

Board President Doug Linney also thinks Diemer is leaving the District in good shape.

“Dennis has been a tremendous asset to EBMUD and the community it serves,” said Linney. “He’s been the perfect general manager, he has an uncanny ability to see all sides of issues and keep things running smoothly. We will miss him and we wish him well.”