Long Beach Water Department (LBWD) General Manager Kevin Wattier is retiring after a 35-year career in the water industry and 14 years with the LBWD, the department announced Tuesday.
Wattier has been instrumental in creating Long Beach’s water policies, perhaps most significantly over the past few months, as the department has pushed to adopt more stringent water use practices for conservation purposes in response to the statewide drought.
“I speak for the entire Water Commission when I say Kevin will be sorely missed,” said Board of Water Commissioners President Harry Saltzgaver in a statement. “In his 14 years as general manager of the Long Beach Water Department, Kevin Wattier has built a reputation as one of the most knowledgeable water experts in the state, if not the country. He has led Long Beach to a place where the residents can be assured of a quality water supply, even in tough times.”
Kaylee Weatherly, assistant to the general manager, said they will be conducting a nationwide search for a new general manager, and Wattier's last day will be in mid-September.
“Kevin Wattier has been an incredible leader for our [water department], ensuring not just a consistent supply of quality water for Long Beach, but working to conserve water and improve services to residents,” Mayor Garcia said in a statement on Tuesday morning. “Under his leadership, Long Beach has become a statewide leader in conservation efforts through innovative programs like lawn to garden and using reclaimed water for irrigation. Kevin will be missed.”
“I’ve been privileged to lead one of the region’s best water utilities for the past 14 years,” Wattier said in a statement.
In his statement, Saltzgaver said Wattier guided Long Beach to become “the leader in water conservation statewide.”
“His work to assure adequate supplies of water for the city didn’t make headlines, but will cement his legacy far into the future,” said Saltzgaver. “We thank him for his service.”
Above left: photo courtesy of the LBWD.