Definitely the most charming and articulate DWP General Mgr. in memory, David Nahai delighted the audience at Andrea Lawrence’s ALIMAR awards dinner. Nahai smiled, enchanted the listeners and talked straight talk about years of bad relationships with the Eastern Sierra and about serious water problems in his city. Our Cleland Hoff was there and taped Mr. Nahai.
The new GM and CEO said DWP is at a pivotal point. He talked about alternative energy sources, development of new employees and ways to have enough water. Nahai wasted no time addressing the unspoken concern – relationship building with Inyo and Mono.
This is what Im doing here tonight, said Nahai from the podium. I’m building a relationship that started two years ago when we came up to visit with you to try to change a paradigm that has taken hold between LADWP and the communities of the Owens Valley for 100 years. We want to change that, and I want to continue to change that.
Ive learned in my life that you can disagree from time to time with somebody you trust, but you can never agree with somebody that you distrust. What I want to do more and more is to establish a feeling of good faith and confidence. Ill lay my cards on the table, vowed the General Manager, Ill tell you exactly what I think. Ill tell you exactly what my hesitation or trepidation is and Ill even tell you the directions I disagree with. I hope at the end of the day well have feelings of confidence that were telling each other the truth.
Nahai said he will try to overcome the century-old suspicion. He said he recognizes that water is the issue. We all kind of epitomize Mark Twain’s saying that whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over. Perhaps we should fight over whisky, instead, he joked.
The supply of whiskey creates no doubts, but water does. Nahai talked about a collision course with water supplies and lack of water. He revealed that Los Angeles is developing a water plan. He called it “a radical departure.” Any plan could be described as radical, since the City of Los Angeles has always moved ahead with growth and development with no consideration for water.
Nahai spoke of recycled water, capture of rain water, dam reinforcement, use of aquifers for storage and a green building ordinance.