The State Water Resources Control Board recently had two notable developments regarding its membership, including a historic confirmation: Nichole Morgan, a civil engineer with an extensive background in water policy and regulation, was confirmed by the state Senate. And Vice-Chair Dorene D’Adamo, currently the longest tenured board member and an attorney with vast experience in environmental issues, was reappointed to another four-year term by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Morgan, who was appointed by the governor on June 16, 2021, and confirmed March 14, 2022, is the first Black woman to serve on the State Water Board. She most recently was an Assistant Deputy Director with the board’s Division of Financial Assistance, where her primary responsibilities involved funding projects for drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and groundwater infrastructure improvements.
During that time, she also oversaw management of the Lead in Child Care Centers, Fish Advisories and Drinking Water and Wastewater Operator Certification programs. While under Morgan’s leadership, the Operator Certification programs transitioned to computer-based testing. This allowed for drinking water and wastewater treatment operators to take essential tests during the COVID-19 emergency, protecting public health and the environment.
“I am honored to serve California in this historic moment, as we confront unprecedented challenges and the opportunities that come with them,” said Morgan, a Bay Area native and Sacramento State graduate who joined the Water Boards in 2009. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to build resilience through generational infrastructure investments, support the inclusion of workforce development and STEM programs and advance the board’s racial equity initiative.”
In her earlier years with the agency, Morgan managed the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program for the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. She also has held positions at public agencies and engineering consulting firms in planning, designing and overseeing construction of drinking water, wastewater and recycled water treatment and conveyance facilities.
D’Adamo, a longtime Turlock resident, has a wealth of wide-ranging experience in law, government and the environment, particularly in the Central Valley.
For over 20 years, she served in various capacities for San Joaquin Valley congressional representatives, working primarily on environmental, water and agricultural policy. Appointed to the Air Resources Board in 1999 by former Gov. Gray Davis, she continued serving during the Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edmund G. Brown administrations and was instrumental in air quality and climate change programs and regulations.
Brown named her to the State Water Board in 2013, where she has devoted much of her attention to water supply and water quality related to irrigated agriculture, drinking water and ecosystem needs.
“The challenges facing our communities, farms and ecosystems are daunting, and exacerbated by climate change and three consecutive years of drought,” said D’Adamo. “But we also have tremendous opportunities to become more resilient by diversifying our water supplies, improving drought and flood control preparedness, restoring ecosystems, and assuring access to safe drinking water for all Californians. I am very grateful to continue serving the board at this critical time.”
D’Adamo, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Davis and a juris doctor from McGeorge School of Law, also served as Assistant Director for Legislation for the California Youth Authority and Legal Counsel for the State Assembly Committee on Public Safety. She was reappointed to the State Water Board on March 9 and is awaiting state Senate confirmation.
The State Water Boards’ mission is to preserve, enhance and restore the quality of California’s water resources and drinking water for the protection of the environment, public health and all beneficial uses, and to ensure proper resource allocation and efficient use for present and future generations.