Adel Hagekhalil, a national water and infrastructure leader, will take the helm of the nation’s largest drinking water provider – the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – following a vote Tuesday evening by the agency’s board of directors.
The 38-member board approved Hagekhalil’s contract, making him the 14th general manager in the district’s 93-year history.
“Mr. Hagekhalil is a highly respected leader on wastewater and water reuse who will help Metropolitan continue on its path to invest in sustainable water supplies. His commitment to innovation, sustainability and working together, as a united Metropolitan board, will be critical as we face the challenges climate change is bringing to Southern California’s water supplies,” Chairwoman Gloria D. Gray said.
A registered civil engineer and board-certified environmental engineer, Hagekhalil was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2018 to lead StreetsLA, the department that manages and maintains Los Angeles’ vast network of streets and urban forests, including climate adaptation and multi-benefit integrated active transportation corridors. Previously, he served for nearly 10 years as assistant director of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Sanitation, leading the city’s wastewater collection system, stormwater and watershed protection program, water quality compliance, and facilities and advance planning. He also helped develop the city’s 2040 One Water LA Plan, which takes a regional watershed approach to integrate water supply, water reuse, water conservation, stormwater management, and wastewater facilities planning.
Hagekhalil has also served for more than a decade as a board member on the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, including a term as president, and was named a Water Environment Federation fellow in 2019.
“I am grateful to the entire Metropolitan board of directors for the opportunity to lead this organization, which is so important to the lives and livelihoods of Southern Californians,” Hagekhalil said.
“As we move forward, I am determined to focus on what unites us and pursue a unified agenda that includes and works for every member agency. Working together, I believe Metropolitan can continue confronting the challenges we face to ensure water reliability for all our member agencies and communities we serve with focus on our underserved communities while engaging our diverse stakeholders and empowering our staff.”
Hagekhalil replaces long-time General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger, who led Metropolitan since 2006 and maintained Metropolitan as a globally respected leader in the water industry.
A cooperative of 26 member agencies, Metropolitan provides more than half the water used by 19 million people in six Southern California counties. The district’s 5,200-square-mile service area covers most of urbanized Southern California. Metropolitan imports water from the
Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies and provides financial incentives to help local agencies develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other water management programs.
Headquartered adjacent to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, Metropolitan has an annual operating/capital budget of $1.8 billion, about 1,700 employees and more than 30 facilities throughout Southern California.
In his new post, Hagekhalil will be responsible for leading Metropolitan’s daily and longterm operations, including implementing the policies of the 38-member board. He will also be Metropolitan’s chief spokesman and work with member agencies and federal, state and local officials to carry out Metropolitan's mission to provide water reliability to Southern California.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that, along with its 26 cities and retail suppliers, provide water for 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource management programs.