You are here

Member Spotlight - Nordhoff Brings Business Background to Water Policy

March 2011

Delta Stewardship Council member Hank Nordhoff will be the first to tell observers that he’s “not a water guy.” He is instead a businessman with a strong belief that the debate over the future of water in California should have economics as one of its guiding principles.

“I think it probably helps to give a little bit of balance to the Council,” said Nordhoff, who as chairman of Gen-Probe Incorporated and vice chairman of the Shipston Group, leads the private equity firm’s healthcare investments in Asia. “I think there’s an economic role to be played in this (endeavor) and I look at everything from supply-demand economics.”

The Council is engaged with its staff in refining the drafts of the Delta Plan. The first staff draft was released Feb. 14. Subsequent drafts will be released in March, April and May before an administrative draft is released in June for environmental review. The development of the Delta Plan is guided by the coequal goals as set by statute, namely providing a more reliable water supply for California and restoring the Delta ecosystem in a manner that enhances the unique values of the Delta as an evolving place.

“This plan should be based on science and economics, and I think we’re covering the science very well and will cover the economics as this process goes on,” said Nordhoff, who noted that the Council features “some very dedicated people who are out to do what’s best for the Delta and for California.”

Although Nordhoff admits that he does not have a long standing interest in water policy, the San Diego-area resident says water is at the heart of California’s future well-being. He believes it has a value that is at times greater than oil.

“Water is the common denominator risk that we have at both the state level and the local level,” he said.

“It’s really fascinating, in the issues that we’re dealing with and the history and in the personal dynamics of the Council trying to find a common approach to solving problems.”

In addition to decades of experience in the health care industry, Nordhoff brings to the Council a history of community service. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, MannKind Corporation and the San Diego Museum of Art. He also serves on advisory committees for the University of San Diego School of Business Administration, the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and the UCSD Rady School of Management, along with the International Advisory Board for Chugai Pharmaceutical Co, Ltd. of Tokyo. He is a member of the Founders Committee at the Preuss School and is a past chairman of the California Healthcare Institute and the San Diego Regional Economic Corporation.

Hank Nordhoff

Coequal goals

The Delta Stewardship Council was created in legislation to achieve the state mandated coequal goals for the Delta. "'Coequal goals' means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place." (CA Water Code §85054)