For the last few months, since the retirement of former Monterey County Water Resources Agency general manager Brent Buche, Lew Bauman has taken on the role on an interim basis until Buche's replacement could be hired.
That has finally happened, the county announced April 3, with the hiring of Ara Azhderian. He will start the job on April 24. Azhderian was previously general manager of Panoche Water District, which serves parts of Fresno and Merced counties. Before that, he served as the water policy administrator for San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority.
But he's previously been a farmer, and per a statement from the county, "His farming background gave him an uncommon perspective on the work he does now and a deep understanding of California’s unparalleled, irrigated agricultural community."
In the statement, Azhderian said perhaps his most important task will be the "successful development and implementation of actions to sustainably manage the county’s groundwater."
"At this stage in my career," he continues, "I will have the privilege to use a combination of my unique experiences to propel the Monterey County Water Resources Agency into a sustainable future, that serves the needs of residents, business, and agriculture alike."
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