Alex Hildebrand (1913-2012) had an understanding and knowledge of
California’s South Delta and San Joaquin River bar none. After
retiring early from a career as an engineer for Standard Oil of
California, he moved his family to the San Joaquin Valley where
he farmed for nearly 50 years while active in water issues and as
an advocate for the area.
Anne J. Schneider (1947-2010) is
acknowledged as one of the first women to become well-known and
well-respected in the field of California and Western water law.
“Anne was an amazing person — an accomplished college athlete,
mountain climber, skier, marathon runner, velodrome and
long-distance cyclist; a devoted mother; a dedicated
conservationist,” said Justice Ronald B. Robie in the Inaugural
Anne J. Schneider Memorial Lecture in May 2012.
Arthur D. Edmonston directed the early planning
of the Central Valley Project, State Water Project and State
He served as California state engineer and chief of the Division
of Water Resources (predecessor to the Department of Water
Resources) from 1950-1955, a time of rapid population,
agricultural and industry growth California. Water shortages were
common, and groundwater supplies were being overdrafted.
Carl Boronkay (1929-2017) was
general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern
California (MWD) between 1984 and 1993. Boronkay is credited
with developing a long-term vision for the district’s sustainable
water supplies as well as large projects such as Diamond Valley
Lake, the large reservoir near the Riverside County town of
Hemet, and the Inland Feeder that connects the State Water Project to the
River Aqueduct and Diamond Valley Lake.
Carley V. Porter (1906-1972) was the
longtime chairman of the California Legislature’s Assembly
Committee on Water who has two historical and important water
laws named after him. He was a Democrat from Compton in Los
Angeles County and a teacher before being elected to the
Clair A. Hill (1909-1998), a self-made engineer nicknamed
“California’s Mr. Water,” built from the ground up an engineering
firm that would merge to form the global consulting firm of CH2M
In 1938 in his hometown of Redding along the Upper Sacramento
River in Northern California, he founded Clair A. Hill &
Associates. Before merging with CH2M in 1971, the two firms had
collaborated on many projects together, including the Lake Tahoe
Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility — the first of its kind in
David A. Gaines (1947-1988) is known for founding the Mono Lake
Committee in 1978 with the goal of preserving its ecosystem and
leading a grassroots effort to “Save Mono Lake.” The result would
be an environmental cause célèbre. As a synopsis of the Mono Lake
litigation, in 1979 a lawsuit was filed against the Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power (DWP) to stop diversions to
Southern California — citing the public trust values at Mono
David N. Kennedy (1936-2007) was at the helm as the director of
the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) for 15 years,
the longest serving director to date, and a champion of the State
Water Project (SWP).
Don McCrea was one of the founding members of the Water Education
Foundation and signed its original Articles of Incorporation in
His background was in power and energy issues, including
hydrology and the state’s hydrologic system, from a career at the
Pacific Gas & Electric Company in San Francisco. He was involved
in the development of the State Water Project as a proponent of
the value of hydroelectricity.
Edmund G. “Pat” Brown (1905-1996) was California’s governor from
1959-1967, exemplified the best in public service and left a
wide-ranging legacy that featured first and foremost the State
Water Project (SWP) and California Aqueduct but also included the
Fair Housing Act, the Fair Employment Act, the Master Plan for
Higher Education and highway expansion.
Edward Hyatt Jr. (1888-1954) was the state engineer of California
from 1927-1950. In a 1928 report he wrote titled “Water is the
Life Blood of California — The Division of Engineering and
Irrigation of the State Department of Public Works; What it Does
and How it Operates,” he called the department the “building
organization of California’s state government” and described
successes, challenges and responsibilities of his position.
Elwood Mead (1858-1936) was the commissioner of the U.S. Bureau
of Reclamation during the era of the development of Hoover Dam on
the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada, Grand Coulee Dam
in Washington and Owyhee Dam in Oregon, among other large water
In the Northern California community of Redding, he was a justice
of peace, a renowned water rights attorney in the law firm of
Carr and Kennedy and helped form the Anderson-Cottonwood
Irrigation District. He was often in the nation’s Capitol in
Washington, D.C., advocating for funds from Congress to get this
visionary project built for the benefit of all of California. In
his honor, the Judge Francis Carr Powerplant was named after him.
Fred. T. Perris (1837-1916) became the chief engineer and
superintendent of construction of the California Southern
Railway. A civil engineer, he also played a role in surveying and
taking water measurements in San Bernardino and Los Angeles
counties. The Lake Perris State Recreation Area and the city of
Perris are named after him.
Gordon Cologne served for 10 years in the California Legislature
during the 1960s and early 1970s while the California State Water
Project was being built.
His interest in water issues began from his early life in the
Coachella Valley desert. An attorney, he worked in both the
public sector in Washington, D.C, and then in private practice in
California. He also served his local community as a member of the
city of Indio City Council, including as mayor, before his
decision to run for election to fill an open seat in the
Harvey O. Banks (1910-1996), a lifelong civil engineer, played an
integral role in the development of water projects in California.
He became the first director of the state Department of Water
Resources, appointed by Governor Goodwin J. Knight on July 5,
1956 — the date the department was officially established. He
continued as director under Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown.
During Banks’ tenure as director from 1956-1961, he was key in
the planning and the initial construction of the California State
Water Project (SWP).