South Coast Water District to fill board seat after director is tapped for regional water board

Dennis Erdman of Dana Point has resigned from the South Coast Water District Board of Directors. Courtesy of SCWD

By Breeana Greenberg, Special to the Independent

The South Coast Water District Board of Directors has a vacancy to fill after former board president Dennis Erdman’s resignation.

Erdman resigned to take on his new position on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board of Directors. The Metropolitan Water District of Orange County announced Erdman’s appointment as its representative to the regional water agency on Feb. 17.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues from Orange County and the rest of the Metropolitan Board to develop programs and projects to ensure reliable water supplies for generations to come,” Erdman said in a prepared statement..

A civil engineer, Erdman leaves his South Coast Water director position after seven years. Previously, he served as a director at Tri-Cities Municipal Water District and Capistrano Bay Park and Recreation District.

“Dennis brought his expertise and knowledge to decision-making, having over twenty-five years of General Manager experience in the water/wastewater field before joining the board,” said Rick Shintaku, general manager of South Coast Water District, wrote in an email. “As a retired civil engineer, he ensured the District undertook a series of due diligence studies to thoroughly evaluate the Doheny Ocean Desalination project. In addition, he guided the District toward a comprehensive Asset Management Program.”

Erdman’s experience in public service throughout his career has prepared him to serve on the Metropolitan board, said MWDOC’s Board President and Metropolitan Director Sat Tamaribuchi.

“Dennis has a long and distinguished career in the water industry and a lifetime of public service,” said Tamaribuchi. “His vast experience and engineering background will provide immediate value to the Metropolitan Board and the public we serve.”

However, Erdman will be missed by the remaining South Coast Water District directors and staff, Shintaku said.

“Dennis is highly respected and trusted by the community; traits that will serve him well in his new role as the MWDOC/MET director representing all of us in South Orange County,” said Shintaku. “We will genuinely miss Dennis’ ‘pay-it-forward’ approach and his genuine love for the District and its staff. ”

South Coast Water District, which serves residents of South Laguna, Dana Point, and parts of San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente, will be appointing “a qualified voter residing within the boundaries of South Coast Water District to serve as a Director in the vacant position” according to a recent press release. The new director will serve until a successor is elected in November 2022.

The Board will meet on March 11 to discuss filling the vacant board seat.

In April 2020, the SCWD Board of Directors approved an interim settlement agreement Thursday that clears the way for the agency to transition to by-district voting in 2022. The switch was prompted by a demand letter from an attorney claiming a number of SCWD ratepayers were concerned that at-large elections stymie candidates who represent the district’s racial and socio-economic diversity. District leaders immediately signaled their acquiescence to avoid a costly lawsuit.

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