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Valley Water Board names Gary Kremen as 2022 chair

January 12, 2022
2022 Chair Gary Kremen

SAN JOSE – The Valley Water Board of Directors has chosen Gary Kremen to serve as the 2022 Chair of the Board.

The unanimous vote on Jan. 11, 2022, launches Director Kremen’s second tenure as the board chair. Director Kremen also served as the board chair in 2015.

As was the case in 2015, Chair Kremen takes on the board leadership role when Santa Clara County and much of California are once again enduring a drought emergency. The Valley Water Board of Directors is moving forward with plans to expand Santa Clara County’s use of purified water, a locally-controlled and drought-resilient supply. Valley Water has also been a statewide leader in encouraging residents and businesses to reduce their water use during this drought, resulting in substantial water savings across Santa Clara County in late 2021.

“I’m honored to be elected,” Chair Kremen said. “We have some challenges ahead, including the drought. The water supply outlook for 2022 remains uncertain, and it’s very likely we will need to continue to reduce water use countywide.

“We’re dealing with a pandemic that is raging. And there is economic uncertainty that many community members are experiencing. Not everyone is in a great position, and we must consider that in our actions. I will serve with integrity and consider ratepayers, taxpayers and all stakeholders. That will be top of mind as we provide safe, clean water, flood protection and ecosystem restoration.”

Chair Kremen was first elected to the Valley Water Board of Directors in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018. He represents District 7, which includes the cities of Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno, and the southern portion of San Jose’s Almaden Valley.

Chair Kremen is an engineer with over 30 years of experience starting and mentoring companies that change people’s lives. He invented online dating, starting and growing He also founded Clean Power Finance (now Spruce Finance), a leading provider of solar energy financing to residences, backed by Duke Energy, Florida Power and Light, Southern California Edison, Kleiner Perkins and Google Ventures. Chair Kremen also co-founded Pace Avenue, which received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to continue developing technology to drive adoption of solar and energy efficiency to low-and-moderate income households. 

In addition, the Board unanimously elected Director John L. Varela to serve as vice chair for 2022. Vice Chair Varela was appointed to the Valley Water District Board of Directors in December 2015.  He was elected by the voters in November 2016 and re-elected in 2018.

Vice Chair Varela represents District 1, which encompasses the cities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy, the unincorporated areas of San Martin, and parts of south San José. 

Valley Water manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County's 2 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 285 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 294 miles of streams. We provide wholesale water and groundwater management services to local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water directly to homes and businesses in Santa Clara County.