Former L.A. DWP general manager and Iranian Jewish attorney H. David Nahai was honored by the popular environmentalist organization Sierra Club on August 26th for his contributions to advancing the cause of water conservation and other environmental work in Southern California. Nahai was honored for his dedication to the environment and preserving L.A.’s water resources that have increasingly under pressure because of the city’s growing population.
Before his tenure at the DWP Nahai has been long involved in water issues as he served on local and state water commissions. Nahai is also among a growing group Iranian Jewish community activists who are increasingly looking to the policies and technology for water conservation and reclamation being implemented in Israel. For decades Israelis who live in a desert-like environment similar to that of Southern California have been successful in using their limited water resources to support a growing population. Nahai served several terms on the Regional Water Quality Control Board before being appointed to the DWP board of commissioners in 2005 by Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In December 2007, Villaraigosa elevated Nahai to the post of DWP “general manager and chief executive officer” Nahai's approximately two year tenure was marked by a heightened emphasis on renewable energy sources and conservation. During his time at the DWP, the department increased its renewable energy portfolio to 14 percent and the city of Los Angeles saw its lowest monthly water use in 32 years. In October 2009, Nahai resigned as general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water.
Interestingly enough other elected leaders of Jewish background also honored by the Sierra Club included California State Senator Alan Lowenthal and California State Assemblyman Mike Feuer. Also on hand to honor Nahai was U.S. Congressman from Southern California, Henry Waxman.
(H. David Nahai, photo by Karmel Melamed)
(California State Senator Alan Lowenthal, phhoto by Karmel Melamed)
(California Assemblymember Mike Feuer, photo by Karmel Melamed)