Yuba Water Agency in the U.S. state of California has announced that General Manager Curt Aikens will retire effective January 2021, and Assistant General Manager Willie Whittlesey will take the reins July 1.
Whittlesey formerly was assistant general manager. In that role, he assisted with all aspects of agency operations and management, including reducing flood risk, hydroelectric power generation, energy sales, water rights, water supply reliability and ecosystem improvements.
From the time Whittlesey takes over until Aikens retires, Aikens will assume a role focused on special projects, according to a press release. He has been with the agency for 23 years.
“Curt has been such a vital part of the success of Yuba Water,” said Randy Fletcher, the agency’s board chairman. “During his time leading this organization, we have made incredible leaps and bounds in reducing flood risk and ensuring a sustainable water supply for the people of Yuba County. The other board members and I have 100 percent confidence in Willie as our selection to lead us into the future, as we continue to focus on those priority missions, but also transition more into other ways to improve the quality of life in Yuba County.”
A registered professional forester, Whittlesey grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills and has been working in the Yuba River watershed for 25 years in roles ranging from forestry to hydroelectric power generation. Prior to joining Yuba Water, he was with PG&E for 13 years.
“Curt has really helped set this agency up for long-term success,” said Whittlesey. “In the last three years, I’ve learned a lot from him, and I’m grateful for his confidence in me, as well as the board’s. I am honored, humbled and really excited about the opportunity to lead this agency into the next phase of our journey. I love managing the water and power, but am equally excited about some of the other things we are getting involved in now, like forest health, water education, economic development and other exciting new opportunities.”
Yuba Water Agency is a stand-alone public agency governed by a board of seven elected officials to serve the people of Yuba County. The agency is “committed to the sustainable management of our water resources for flood risk reduction and reliable water supply, enabled through power generation, in support of the environment and quality of life for our communities.”
Yuba Water Agency owns and operates the 361.9-MW Yuba River Development Project. The Our House and Lob Cabin dams to divert water into New Bullards Bar Reservoir, which releases it to the New Colgate and Narrows II powerhouses for electricity generation. The revenue earned from sales of hydropower and water are reinvested in the county.