Susan Tatayon, now a member of the Delta Stewardship Council (Council), was appointed in May 2014 by Gov. Brown to replace Hank Nordhoff, whose term expired.
“I'm very excited to join the Council at a time when it is laying the foundation for successful implementation of the Delta Plan,” she said, “and I'm honored to be able to work alongside professionals with the credentials of those at the Council.”
Tatayon, who lives in Rocklin, has more than 30 years of experience in the field of water supply planning and management. During those years, she worked from several different vantage points to solve water management issues—as an employee of the California Department of Water Resources, then the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; as a consultant managing projects for a variety of clients, including local, state and federal agencies; and finally, as a water management specialist for a conservation organization, The Nature Conservancy.
She considers herself a pragmatic, solution-oriented person.
“I enjoy working with people in a down-to-earth way to find practical, useful solutions to problems,” she said. “I have been told that I work well with a wide variety of people; I do my best to listen carefully to better understand others' interests and perspectives and see if we can find solutions that are workable for most concerned.”
Tatayon thinks one of the greatest challenges the Council faces is working effectively with all the agencies that affect or have jurisdiction in the Delta – especially during the worst drought since 1977. “It is very challenging to keep the long-view in people's minds and get folks to engage in long-term problem solving when we're in the middle of a water crisis,” she said.
As she moved up the ranks from research analyst to the executive and policy level, she had the privilege of working with “some really bright, motivated thinkers and leaders in the industry.”
“I learned a lot from our successes and failures,” she said. “As Special Assistant to the Mid-Pacific Regional Director, Bureau of Reclamation, and Special Assistant to the Chief Deputy Director of DWR, those are very different perspectives than when you’re working as a consultant to a wide variety of clients, so I think I have a good understanding of how folks in each of those purviews approach water management problems.”
Tatayon has also worked closely with scientists, modelers, and water-project operators which has prepared her well for understanding on-the-ground implications of proposed policies. To learn more about Council member Susan Tatayon, visit her bio on the Council's website, or join the Council at one of its monthly meetings.