SBVWCD General Manager Daniel Cozad receives statewide honor

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The Association of California Water Agencies recognizes him with its Excellence in Water Leadership Award, Building a World of Difference®

Daniel Cozad, General Manager, San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District (SBVWCD)

Daniel Cozad, General Manager, San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District (SBVWCD)

“Daniel has demonstrated remarkable collaboration throughout his career that has resulted in a legacy of significant water projects,” said ACWA President Pamela Tobin. “He is a visionary leader who has continually bridged differences to build successful collaboration among stakeholders.”

California’s leading voice on water issues this week honored San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District General Manager Daniel Cozad with its 2022 Excellence in Water Leadership Award.

Praising him for his leadership and collaborative approach to water management issues, the Association of California Water Agencies said Cozad’s work has not only transformed the Conservation District, but has inspired several regional multi-agency projects that have significantly enhanced groundwater recharge, increased local water resilience, established expansive habitat conservation areas, and protected the economic health of thousands of families.

“Daniel has demonstrated remarkable collaboration throughout his career that has resulted in a legacy of significant water projects,” said ACWA President Pamela Tobin. “He is a visionary leader who has continually bridged differences to build successful collaboration among stakeholders.”

With plans to retire this month, Cozad’s 12 years at the Conservation District have yielded an impressive legacy of contributions, which gave rise to unprecedented cooperation among agencies throughout the region, including:

  • An Enhanced Recharge Collaborative Agreement, the first of many cooperative agreements and projects between local agencies.
  • The Plunge Creek Conservation Project, a model approach to water and habitat conservation, having received the state’s first Safe Harbor Permit in Southern California.
  • The San Bernardino Basin Groundwater Council, reflecting an unprecedented voluntary, regional approach to local groundwater management.
  • A Wildland Trails Conceptual Plan, providing important recreational/educational opportunities and helping to complete the Santa Ana River trail from the mountains to the coast.

Cozad’s work doesn’t stop there. Similar collaborative transformations have followed him throughout this career, including:

  • Integrated Regional Water Management Plan: As General Manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, Daniel was instrumental in the development of this important program, and contributed significantly to establishing state grant funding to help support it.
  • Central Valley Salinity Coalition for CV-SALTS: Daniel took this project from a startup to an established 501 (c) 3 nonprofit with a 28-member Board of Directors that systematically changed water quality regulations to provide attainable regulatory compliance and sustainable water quality for communities and local management. As Executive Director, he organized a stakeholder-based regulatory process and a comprehensive salinity management plan.
  • Ventura WaterPure Program: Daniel established this project to improve the Santa Clara River Estuary and develop a water supply for the City of Ventura by treating effluent entering the estuary to create aquifer storage and recover potable reuse supplies for the city. This project required more than a dozen major environmental permits or approvals, complex funding, and support from diverse special interests.
  • Orange County Integrated Regional Planning Group: A countywide effort to review and improve on integrated planning, governance, structure, and competitiveness in Proposition 50 and Proposition 84 funding. This effort involved diverse stakeholders including the County of Orange and almost a dozen primary water agencies in the region.

The Excellence in Water Leadership Award, Building a World of Difference®, recognizes individuals who have made a remarkable and visible contribution to California water. The award, sponsored by Black & Veatch Corporation, was presented during ACWA’s 2022 Spring Conference & Exhibition in Sacramento where approximately 1,300 leaders from California public water agencies are attending programs and panel discussions on a variety of key water issues. For more information about ACWA’s awards programs, please visit http://www.acwa.com/about/awards.

About the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District:
For nearly a century, the SBVWCD has stewarded the San Bernardino Valley water basin and the native species of the Upper Santa Ana River Wash. Its collaborative approach to project management assures high-quality local water supplies for people, agriculture, and the environment. This includes groundwater recharge and oversight, and protection of habitat and native species in the Wash. Visit http://www.sbvwcd.org.

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Betsy Miller, Assistant General Manager