CalDesal hired longtime water policy expert Ron Davis as its first executive director. Davis’ main task is to grow the year-old association’s membership and spearhead its efforts to become a major voice for desalination among regulators and elected officials at the local and state levels.
Davis joins CalDesal following six years as the state legislative director for the Assn. of California Water Agencies (ACWA). In that position, he lobbied the California Legislature, the Schwarzenegger administration and numerous regulatory agencies on behalf of ACWA’s roughly 450 member agencies. At ACWA, he was the lead negotiator on numerous high-profile measures to help restore water supply reliability, improve the ecosystem and maximize local clean drinking water resource development projects. Prior to his work with ACWA, Davis performed similar advocacy functions for the Santa Clara Water District and the California Municipal Utilities Assn.
“CalDesal is extremely pleased to have an executive director of Ron Davis’ caliber to lead our organization into the future,” said CalDesal Board President Shawn Dewane. “Ron has been one of the most respected champions of the water industry for many years, and is well respected by the state’s legislative and regulatory water policy leaders. Under his guidance we look forward to becoming the leading advocate in the state for desalination.”
Davis will work out of Sacramento, Calif., and plans to spend much of his first year forming and strengthening relationships with CalDesal’s existing and prospective members. He also will lead CalDesal’s efforts to develop a statewide strategy to advance an efficient pathway for desalination to become a greater part of the state’s water-supply future.
“The establishment and expansion of CalDesal is an important and long-overdue step toward educating California on the importance of local water resource development,” Davis said. “The public supports desalination, and my job will be to collaborate with regulators and officials via an ongoing campaign to build support for desalination technology, and help our state move forward with this important and sustainable local water resource.”
CalDesal was formed in 2010 to serve as a unified voice for water agencies and municipalities in support of ocean water and groundwater desalination. Its membership has grown to 30 public agencies and 33 affiliate members under the direction of Mesa Consolidated Water District general manager Paul Shoenberger, who served as interim executive director until Davis’ hiring.