The United States Desalination Coalition elected Bernie Rhinerson from San Diego, chairman of the board at its Feb. 3 annual board meeting. Rhinerson, who had served as the interim board chair of the coalition, also serves as chairman of the board of the San Diego County Water Authority.
Water agencies and utilities from Southern California, Florida and Texas formed the coalition to advocate for an increased federal role in seawater and groundwater desalination. Each of the local water agencies and utilities involved in the coalition must provide a safe, reliable water supply to their service areas. With ever increasing demands on current water supplies, this task requires exploring alternative water supply sources to avoid a national crisis.
“We believe that desalination will help solve America’s water supply challenges and that the Federal government should play an important role in ensuring its success,” said Rhinerson. “This coalition of water agencies is raising the visibility of desalination at the federal level as a viable and important resource for meeting future water demands.”
As San Diego County Water Authority board chairman, Rhinerson has led that agency’s efforts to develop seawater desalination as a significant component of San Diego County’s future water supply portfolio. The Water Authority envisions seawater desalination providing up to 15 percent of the region’s total water supply by 2020.
Rhinerson, who has represented the city of San Diego on the Water Authority board since 1998, was elected board chairman in December 2002. In addition, he currently chairs the Water Authority board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Desalination. Rhinerson is a 20-year public relations professional and co-owner of a San Diego based public relations firm. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from San Diego State University.
The coalition board of directors also elected Michael Slayton, St. Johns River Water Management District, vice chairman and David Rathke, Southwest Florida Water Management District, secretary.
The U.S. Desalination Coalition membership includes: San Diego County Water Authority, American Water Western Region, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, Jacksonville Electric Authority, Los Angeles Department of Water And Power, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Municipal Water District of Orange County, St. Johns River Water Management District, South Florida Water Management District, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Tampa Bay Water, Texas Water Conservation Association and West Basin Municipal Water District.
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