Governor Brown Appoints Grant Davis as Department of Water Resources Director

By Dan Bacher | July 19, 2017 | Governor Jerry Brown today appointed Grant Davis, 54, of Petaluma, as director of the embattled Calif...

By Dan Bacher | July 19, 2017 |

Governor Jerry Brown today appointed Grant Davis, 54, of Petaluma, as director of the embattled California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

The appointment comes at a critical time for the Department, as the agency reels from intense international and national media scrutiny of its mishandling of the Oroville Dam spillway crisis. DWR is also the lead state agency in the collaborative effort with the Donald Trump administration to build Jerry Brown’s controversial “legacy project," the Delta Tunnels.

Davis has been general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency since February 2011. Before that he was the interim general manager from 2009 to 2011 and the assistant general manager from 2007 to 2009.

“The agency provides wholesale water, wastewater treatment and flood control. It is the largest energy user in the county and became carbon-free in 2015 by providing its water through 100 percent renewable energy,” according to the Governor’s Office.

Davis was executive director of the Bay Institute from 1997 to 2007, senior district representative in the Office of Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey from 1993 to 1997 and principal of Impact Consulting from 1990 to 1993.

Davis currently serves on the University of California President’s Advisory Commission, for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. In addition, Davis is the president of WateReuse California, a member of the Bay Planning Coalition, and a member of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority Advisory Committee. Mr. Davis received his BA in political science from the University of California at Berkeley.

This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $194,600. Davis is a Democrat.

Public trust advocates are expecting little to change at DWR as Davis assumes the helm. The appointment comes at a time when increasing numbers of Californians are challenging Governor Jerry Brown’s “environmental” and “climate” credentials as he teams up with the Trump administration to build the environmentally devastating Delta Tunnels and to exempt three major California oilfields from protection under the federal Safe Water Drinking Act.  

On June 26, the Trump administration released a no-jeopardy finding on the biological assessment to build the tunnels, claiming that the California WaterFix will not jeopardize threatened or endangered species or adversely modify their critical habitat. The biological opinion is available here: 

The Brown administration praised the deeply flawed biological opinion, a document that may have been politically manipulated, in spite of the vow Jerry Brown made in January to “resist” Trump administration attacks on science. 

Over 50 environmental justice and consumer organizations are also outraged by the California Legislature’s passage Monday night of the Big Oil-written cap-and-trade bill, Assembly Bill 398. The bill was rammed through the legislature under intense pressure from Governor Jerry Brown, who has received over $9.8 million in contributions for oil and energy companies.

Liza Tucker, Consumer Advocate for Consumer Watchdog, described AB 398 as a “pollute and profit” bill. She said Brown’s plan “ensures that Californians keep paying the state’s biggest polluters to pollute by banning regulators from ordering refineries and power plants to upgrade pollution controls, and by  pillaging cap-and-trade revenue to pay for tax breaks.”

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