Santa Cruz water director to retire

Menard, right, with Santa Cruz Deputy Director of Engineering Heidi Luckenbach.

Rosemary Menard, water director for the City of Santa Cruz, California, announced in January she is retiring after a 43-year career in local government and water utilities.

Menard served as the water director in Santa Cruz since 2014.

“I’ve learned so much from so many of you throughout this journey,” Menard wrote in a LinkedIn post. “As I move to the next chapter of my life, I want to thank you all for the jobs you do everyday as public servants and for how you’ve enriched my experience throughout my career…I look forward to future opportunities to engage in the water community in ways that are compatible with being retired.”

During her time at Santa Cruz, Menard helped guide the water department through multiple droughts, wildfires, repair and replacement of aging infrastructure, a treatment plant upgrade, meter replacements and a plan to supplement the city’s water supply and prepare for the ongoing effects of climate change.

Rosemary Menard’s ‘Getting to Yes’ Strategy in Santa Cruz

Menard led the implementation of multiple Long-Range Financial Plans for capital reinvestment to address water challenges in Santa Cruz. Each plan included five-year water rate increase schedules and Menard was unanimous in getting city council support. The department has implemented new fees to offset mandatory water use curtailments in Santa Cruz in response to drought.

Menard first got her start in the utility world when she joined the Seattle Water Department (now Seattle Public Utilities) as supervisor of its then recently-created water conservation department. There, she went on to serve in several leadership roles including as environmental planning manager, water quality director – for which she dealt with federal regulatory issues and compliance – and as director of water resources and water quality.

Following Seattle Water, Menard served in senior leadership positions for 11 years at the City of Portland Water Bureau, culminating in her role as director of operations and maintenance. She then served as director of the Washoe County Department of Water Resources in Reno, Nevada, prior to her time at Santa Cruz.

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