Hoping to ensure consistency of leadership, the Santa Margarita Water District didn't look very far when looking for a a new general manager.
They looked down the hall.
The SMWD turned to its chief engineer, Dan Ferons, to replace John Schatz, who announced his retirement in April after 18 years with the district. His last day was June 29, and Ferons took over the following day.
“We were sorry to see John retire because he has provided such strong leadership for the District and accomplished so much,” said Board President Bill Lawson. “But we are extremely pleased to be able to name such an experienced and accomplished successor. (Ferons) will provide strong leadership for the District and ensure SMWD will continue to be one of the most efficient and well-run water districts in Southern California. Dan has more than a quarter century of experience at SMWD and a proven track record of developing, managing and completing major projects that have greatly enhanced water reliability for the District’s 155,000 customers.”
Ferons said he was looking forward to the opportunity.
“This is an exceptional agency with a history of innovation, and I have been proud to be a part of its success for the past 26 years," Ferons said. "I look forward to building on the strong foundation (Schatz) created to ensure SMWD will continue to effectively meet the needs of its customers.”
Ferons said he is looking forward to working with the Board and the District’s staff to effectively manage all the challenges of providing a safe, high-quality and reliable water supply.
“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to lead the District and continue my work with the Board and SMWD’s outstanding staff,” said Ferons. “This is an exceptional agency with a history of innovation, and I have been proud to be a part of its success for the past 26 years. I look forward to building on the strong foundation (Schatz) created to ensure SMWD will continue to effectively meet the needs of its customers.”
The biggest issue facing Ferons at this time is the proposed Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project—Cadiz Project for short—which would provide a new southern California water supply by managing a groundwater basin that is part of a 1,300-square mile watershed in eastern San Bernardino County. According to SMWD, water that would otherwise evaporate would be collected and conserved for beneficial use.
Ferons joined SMWD in 1986, after working with several engineering consulting firms and being involved in the design of public works and the preparation of development plans throughout Southern California. He has served as SMWD’s Chief Engineer since 1994.
In that job, he was responsible for the District’s annual budget and its major capital improvement projects, including the creation of the Upper Chiquita Reservoir, the largest domestic water reservoir built in south Orange County in 45 years.
Ferons holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Cal Poly Pomona and is a registered professional civil engineer in California. He is an active member of the Orange County Water Association, American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation.