Calleguas Water District Names General Manager


When the Calleguas Municipal Water District started looking for a new general manager, applications came in from all around Southern California. But in the end, the person hired to head Ventura County's largest water agency was sitting right next to the vacant general manager's office.

Susan Mulligan ('93), who has been the district's manager of engineering for 17 years, was announced at Wednesday night's board meeting as the new GM.

"She was the highest-qualified person we interviewed," board President Ted Grandsen said. "She has a great knowledge of what is going on in Ventura County."

Calleguas, which imports state water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, wholesales water that serves more than 600,000 customers in the eastern half of Ventura County. The previous general manager, Don Kendall, retired in May after 18 years with the district.

Mulligan, 49, who has an MBA from UCLA as well as a civil engineering degree from Stanford University, said that from a young age she was interested in the way things were put together. When she got out of school, her first job was with the Pasadena Water & Power Department and she has been working within the complex world of Southern California water ever since.

Among the priorities Mulligan must tackle when she officially starts her job Oct. 16 are projects that she oversaw in her years as the district's head engineer.  Work on the $120 million salinity management pipeline project - which will take salty groundwater, treat it for users along the route from Port Hueneme to Simi Valley and dump the leftover salty water in the ocean - is still about four years away from completing the first phase.  Mulligan said she wants to focus on getting the pipeline built so the district can build up the reserves in the Las Posas Basin Aquifer, which was designed as an emergency reservoir but is being tapped into these days as less water is coming from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. By completing the pipeline, local water companies can not only have more control over their resource, but the cost as well, she said.  "We are going to do what we can to make sure we have reliable water than can keep their rates reasonable," she said.

While she is a trained engineer, she said she is much more gregarious and outgoing than a stereotypical engineer, a trait she said that will play to her advantage as she deals with the many water agencies the district serves. Mulligan's contract states she will be paid a $200,000 base salary, along with $55,508 in benefits and be eligible for a 3 percent annual bonus.

When not thinking about how to get water to the county, the Ventura resident likes to ski and do yoga.

-Zeke Barlow, Ventura County Star

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