Charley Wilson: A Legacy of Accomplishment

My office had the great pleasure this week of presenting a proclamation to Charley Wilson, who retired from the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) Board of Directors after 19 years of distinguished service.


As we celebrated Director Charley Wilson’s illustrious career and outstanding service, it was very clear he is highly regarded as a dynamic leader, not only on the SMWD Board, but throughout the water industry and all of South County. During his nearly two decades of service, he also helped shape water policy throughout the State of California. Director Wilson was appointed to the SMWD Board in April 2000. During his tenure, he served as Board President three times and Chaired the District’s Finance and Administration Committee. Director Wilson also served on the Water Quality and Innovations and the External Affairs Ad Hoc Committees.

In addition, from 2012 to 2019, he served on the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA). In civilian life, he enjoyed 25 years in the electric utility industry and is now the President and CEO of the Southern California Water Coalition in addition to work in his own consultancy.

During Charley Wilson’s tenure, SMWD developed a strategic plan to help ensure water reliability for the region. He was instrumental in many national award-winning projects, including Lake Mission Viejo's Advanced Treated Water Facility, California’s first swimming recycled water lake; the District’s fourth urban return basin, Gobernadora Multi-Purpose Basin, which allows the District to collect and reuse more than 500 million gallons of urban return flows a year; and, most recently, the construction of Orange County’s largest recycled water reservoir, Trampas Canyon, to be completed in 2020. “Charley is a “big picture” thinker and a great and collaborative colleague,” said Board President Saundra Jacobs. “Our Board and staff will miss him. We all owe him a debt gratitude for his leadership and service.”

While Director Wilson resigned his seat on the Santa Margarita Water District Board of Directors effective August 1, he will continue to serve the water community through his excellent work with the Southern California Water Coalition and other water industry associations. Congratulations to Charley Wilson on his remarkable career with SMWD!



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