Adel Hagekhalil to Head SoCal’s Metropolitan Water District

Adel Hagekhalil has been selected as the next General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the region’s largest water supplier.

Hagekhalil, who currently serves as Executive Director and General Manager of LA City's Bureau of Street Services, was hired by the agency’s board of directors Tuesday. The vote was contentious and followed a public feud over Hagekhalil’s experience and the future of MWD’s leadership. Officials from LA and San Diego supported Hagekhalil’s appointment, while officials from Orange County opposed him.

Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Hagekhalil to his current role in 2018. Before that, he was Assistant Director for the City’s Bureau of Sanitation. He has also served as a board member and President of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) and he oversaw development of the National Resiliency Plan for the Water Sector.

“Adel is a proven leader and a visionary public servant who sees every policy decision through a lens of sustainability and conservation, and knows the importance of reducing our reliance on imported water,” Mayor Garcetti said in a written statement. “There’s never been a more critical time for our region to lead the charge toward smarter uses of our precious natural resources, and I have no doubt that Adel will rise to the challenge of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-make our water future.”

Hagekhalil will succeed Jeff Kightlinger, who is retiring after 15 years. He will earn $400,000 a year.

This is a challenging time for water agencies like MWD. Around one-quarter of the Western United States is now under “exceptional” drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.