Jim Madaffer was on the California Transportation Commission from 2013 until this past January. Photo via madaffer.com

Jim Madaffer of the San Diego County Water Authority has been named to the Colorado River Board of California, which represents the state in talks with other states and federal agencies regarding management of the Colorado River.

The appointment was announced Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office.

Madaffer, 59, is a former San Diego councilman who has been president of Madaffer Enterprises since 2009.

Now the chair of the county Water Authority board of directors, he’s a former Jerry Brown appointee to the California Transportation Commission, but resigned in January after becoming chair of the water authority.

In an April profile, Voice of San Diego said Madaffer was trying to settle disputes with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, “many of which involve the deal San Diego signed with Imperial. Even though the Water Authority is buying the water from Imperial, San Diego still has no way of getting that water here from the Colorado River without using an aqueduct owned by Metropolitan.”

That same month, Madaffer wrote an opinion piece for The San Diego Union-Tribune in which he called for securing water storage capacity in Lake Mead, “the linchpin reservoir on the Colorado River.”

He wrote: “It’s a common-sense solution that benefits everyone involved because it offers us the ability to set aside more water without building any new dams, without spending any new money on reservoirs and at no charge from the federal government.

“Water levels in Lake Mead have been declining for the better part of two decades due to a long-term drought in the Colorado River Basin. At the same time, the Water Authority has been developing highly reliable water supplies from a variety of sources.”

A member of the San Diego City Council from 2000 to 2008, Madaffer was a community newspaper publisher at Mission Publishing Group LLC from 1994 to 2014. He served as chief of staff to San Diego Councilwoman Judy McCarty from 1993 to 2000.

Metropolitan Water and the San Diego water agency each have one member and one alternate on the Colorado River Board.

Madaffer also is a member of the Lambda Alpha International Land Economics Foundation and San Diego Rotary Club 33.

His position doesn’t require Senate confirmation, and the compensation is $100 per diem. Madaffer, formerly a Republican, is registered without party preference.

According to the river board, seven counties in Southern California receive water and hydroelectric energy from the Colorado River.

“Colorado River water is used for drinking water by over 19 million people in Southern California and irrigates over 600,000 acres of agricultural lands that produce fruits, vegetables,and other crops that help feed our nation’s families,” its website said.

Updated at 7:45 a.m., Friday, June 21, 2019

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