Mark Cowin appointed California director of DWR

Tens of millions of Californians rely on water from DWR and the State Water Project for use in their homes, on their farms, and other businesses.

Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. has appointed Mark Cowin as director of the Department of Water Resources.

“With over three decades of experience at the Department of Water Resources, Mark Cowin has the track record to lead this truly vital part of our infrastructure,” said California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird. “Tens of millions of Californians rely on water from DWR and the State Water Project for use in their homes, on their farms, and other businesses – Cowin understands the importance of keeping the system running at peak efficiency.”

Cowin has been acting director and director of DWR since February of 2010. Mr. Cowin has extensive experience with California water resources management and has worked at DWR for over 30 years.

As acting DWR director, Cowin heads a department that protects, conserves and manages the state's water supply, including operation of the California State Water Project (SWP). The SWP is the largest state-run, multi-purpose water and power system in the United States. Cowin also plays a primary role in implementing the Bay Delta Conversation Plan.

Prior to his appointment as director, Cowin served as deputy director of integrated water management for DWR. His primary responsibilities included overseeing the department’s flood management and dam safety programs, implementing integrated regional water management, coordinating DWR's efforts related to climate change, and updating and implementing the California Water Plan.

In previous assignments, Cowin served for five years as chief of DWR's Division of Planning and Local Assistance and was responsible for the state's strategic planning for water management and for providing technical and financial assistance for water management to local agencies and communities. Cowin also served as an assistant director for the CALFED Bay-Delta Program where he was responsible for the Bay-Delta Program's water management planning activities. He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University in 1980.

The Senate Rules Committee will consider Cowin’s confirmation on Wednesday, April 18.

For more information on the Department of Water Resources, please visit:

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