Civic leaders water authority foundation
Mel Katz. Photo credit:

New officers for the San Diego County Water Authority board of directors were elected Thursday, with Mel Katz set to start a two-year term as chair on Oct. 1.

Katz, vice chair of the board for the past six months as a representative for Del Mar, will serve with incoming vice chair Nick Serrano, a board representative from the city of San Diego, and incoming secretary Frank Hilliker.

Katz, the 27th board chair since the authority’s founding in 1944, is the executive officer of Manpower San Diego, which has been in business for 45 years. He has been on the authority board since March 2018.

“As water authority board chair, I am committed to continuing the collaboration with our member agencies and our regional, state and federal partners as we navigate the challenges of the on-going drought,” Katz said. “Ensuring a reliable and safe water supply for San Diego County and the Southwest requires cooperation, flexibility, and innovative solutions.”

He added that the authority will continue to support its 24 member agencies in developing “new, sustainable local supply sources, such as potable reuse, which lessens the region’s reliance on imported sources.”

He also said the authority will continue efforts to resolve legal disputes over rates with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and while working with MWD on partnership opportunities.

Gary Croucher, who represents the Otay Water District on the authority’s board, served as chair the past two years. His term ends Sept. 30.

Croucher has served on the board since 2001. His tenure as chair included the rate-case litigation, which led to the authority securing nearly $91 million from MWD. He also presided over successful efforts to secure funds to help residents cover unpaid water bills during the pandemic and to minimize water-rate increases.