Gary Croucher (left), Christy Guerin and Jerry Butkiewicz. Courtesy San Diego County Water Authority

The San Diego County Water Authority’s board of directors have elected the Otay Water District‘s Gary Croucher as chair for a two-year term, succeeding Jim Madaffer on Sept. 30.

Christy Guerin, who represents the Olivenhain Municipal Water District, will serve as vice chair and Jerry Butkiewicz from the City of San Diego will be secretary.

“The water authority is one of our region’s most important institutions, and I’m committed to continuing our long legacy of providing safe and reliable water supplies that sustain 3.3 million people and our $245 billion economy,” said Croucher after the board vote on Thursday.

He said key priorities are “assessing the infrastructure necessary to provide water supply reliability for generations to come,” increasing long-term energy storage, and developing new regional partnerships.

“I will also be devoting my personal energy and attention to addressing and resolving concerns two water authority member agencies have in seeking detachment from the water authority, because I firmly believe we are stronger together,” Croucher added, referring to the Fallbrook Public Utility District and Rainbow Municipal Water District, which serve around 50,000 customers in North County.

He also said that the water authority will continue efforts advanced under Madaffer’s leadership to resolve legal disputes over rates with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California while looking for ways to collaborate with MWD on other issues.

Madaffer was honored by staff and board members for his leadership on the rate case litigation, which included securing nearly $500 million dollars from MWD.

Croucher joined the water authority board in July 2001. A career firefighter, he retired as an assistant chief for Cal Fire in San Diego. He is a three-time president of the Otay Water District board of directors.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.