The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency has announced Ali Elhassan as the new director of water resources. In his role, he oversees the agency’s water resources management and planning to ensure adequate water is available to meet the current and future needs of the Santa Clarita Valley.
At a time when water agencies across California are challenged with drought, Elhassan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in water resources planning, the agency said in a prepared statement.
Most recently, he worked for 10 years as the manager of water supply planning for the Environmental Services of the Metropolitan Council in Minnesota, a regional policy-making body serving the seven-county Twin Cities metro area.
Some of his duties included leading regional water supply planning, assessment of water quality, surface water and aquifer management. In this capacity he led development of a master water supply plan, working with 126 water utilities, state agencies and other stakeholders. He also oversaw a rainwater harvesting project at a ballpark in Minnesota and created two groundwater recharge projects in northern California to secure water supplies for water districts.
He also led policy development for water conservation, water reuse and water governance in Minnesota.
“Collaboration is key for successful water resources management,” he said. “Water doesn’t follow political boundaries, so the ‘one watershed’ approach by SCV Water is of critical importance, and I look forward to working with our partners locally and across the state.”
Other experience includes 12 years as a senior water resources engineer/scientist in both New Mexico and California with the New Mexico office of State Engineer and Robertson-Bryan Inc., a California consulting firm. Elhassan also taught engineering hydrology and groundwater hydrology to undergraduate classes as an adjunct faculty member at California State University-Sacramento.
Elhassan has a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Utsunomiya University, Japan, and a doctorate in agricultural engineering from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. His bachelor’s degree is in agricultural mechanization from the University of Khartoum, Sudan.
“This is a critical position in our agency, and one that took months to fill,” said Steve Cole, assistant general manager for SCV Water. “I look forward to Ali’s contributions to our agency and to the Santa Clarita Valley.”
Elhassan is filling the position previously held by Dirk Marks, who retired in December 2021 and has worked in an interim capacity during the recruitment.
Elhassan has relocated to Santa Clarita for the position. He is joined by his wife of 22 years, Hanadi. His daughter, Suha, works in New Mexico for the Ethics Commission and his son, Mohammed, is a sophomore in college in New Jersey. Elhassan enjoys soccer, traveling, reading, and hiking.