H. David Nahai, the general manager and CEO of Los Angeles’ DWP mega-utility, has been taking a lot of heat of late. What was his transgression that made the news, blog and talk radio circuit light up? His family, ensconced in a 6,000-square foot home, is a water waster. Big time. To the tune of more than 1,000 gallons a day, according to a recent home audit.
And Al Gore has a big carbon footprint because he travels around the world shouting about the perils of climate change to all that are willing to listen. Yes, we want our leaders to lead by examples. But often they don’t, just proving they are human. Was I surprised by the audit? Yes. Does it make me think he’s failed us? No.
To focus on Nahai’s water waste is missing the point. His leadership has resulted in the most far-reaching and comprehensive water recycling, conservation, stormwater aquifer recharge and groundwater cleanup plan in Los Angeles’ history. His leadership at the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board for over a decade was exemplary and has led to cleaner and safer rivers, beaches and bays.
If Nahai starts making decisions that lead to the devastation of Mono Lake, Owens Valley, the Bay-Delta and Santa Monica Bay, I’ll be the first person to call him on it. If the city fails to meet its renewable energy targets or doesn’t implement a sustainable water plan, then we should all hold Nahai accountable. For now, people should focus on the big picture, not the overwatering of his azaleas.