Water Veteran Paula Rasmussen Named Colorado River Water Board Executive Officer

By on July 28, 2018
State Water Board

Paula Rasmussen, a long-time employee of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LARWQCB), has been named as the new executive officer for the Colorado River Regional Water Quality Control Board (Colorado River Water Board). She will be replacing Jose Angel in her new position. Angel’s last day is Friday, Aug. 3. Rasmussen assumes her new position on Monday, Aug, 6.

“Paula comes to us with her vast experience in many aspects of water quality and we feel she will be a great office leader and extraordinary asset to the region and its key stakeholders,” said Colorado River Water Board Chair Nancy Wright. “Our staff, my colleagues and I look forward to working with Paula in her new capacity.”

Rasmussen most recently served as the Assistant Executive Officer and in other leadership positions at the LARWQCB since 2000. As the Assistant Executive Officer Rasmussen oversaw the groundwater division. Her responsibilities included the management of the underground storage tank section, the site remediation (cleanup) section and the compliance and enforcement section. She also served as the chief prosecutor for the Los Angeles Regional Board and worked with the region’s public participation specialist on outreach and environmental justice issues.

Rasmussen began her career in the Water Division, Region 9, in environmental protection at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1978. She has also worked at the Department of Toxic Substances Control serving as the chief of the State Regulatory Programs Division as well as the chief of the enforcement branch in Southern California. Rasmussen holds a master’s degree in environmental engineering and a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, both from the University of Southern California (USC).

Rasmussen’s new position will include overseeing some 20,000 square miles in the southeastern portion of California. It includes all of Imperial County and portions of San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego counties. The region is the most arid area of California but the region contains some substantial surface water bodies, including the Colorado River and the Salton Sea. It features many alluvial valleys undergirded by ground water aquifers that in many cases are the sole source of water for local areas.

Speaking about her new role with the Colorado River Water Board Rasmussen said, “I look forward to working closely with the board and the community across this broad basin on critical issues related to groundwater management, the Salton Sea and the New River. I will ensure that our New River remediation plan moves forward to benefit residents on both sides of the international border. From my years of working with the board and staff at the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, I learned that coalition building is an important tool to assuring that residents and communities have a say in the efforts we collectively make and reap the rewards of prudent environmental management and oversight on water issues.”