California Water Alliance Announces Appointment of Interim Executive Director

For Immediate Release
November 21, 2017

Media Contact:
Hector M. Barajas
800.213.4032 ext. 1
[email protected]

California Water Alliance Announces Appointment of Interim Executive Director


HANFORD, Calif., (Nov. 21, 2017) – Erik Hansen, chairperson of The California Water Alliance (CalWA), announced the departure of the water policy non-profit’s long-time Executive Director Aubrey Bettencourt and appointment of Raul Riesgo as Interim Executive Director. Bettencourt has assumed a new role as California State Director of the Farm Services Agency within the United States Department of Agriculture after serving nine years as CalWA’s leader.

“CalWA’s Board of Directors and members thank Aubrey Bettencourt for her many years of services and her tireless efforts to solve California’s decades of water supply problems as head of our state water policy alliance,” Hansen said. “The United States Department is Agriculture is very fortunate to gain such a knowledgeable and dedicated individual as Ms. Bettencourt for this key role.”

Hansen continued, “We welcome Raul Riesgo as our Interim Executive Director as the board conducts its search for an experienced permanent leader in our top position.” Riesgo currently manages California’s GROW Elect program which recruits, trains, and helps Latinos and Latinas run for local office. Riesgo is also a former news reporter for two Los Angeles-area newspapers and author of a historical narrative on the development of the city of Pico Rivera, California. Raul was born and raised east of downtown Los Angeles, in Boyle Heights.

Bettencourt joined CalWA in 2008 as a consultant and has directed the organization’s growth from a regional and community stakeholder group to a statewide leader in water policy, water rights and as a watchdog of government.

“Aubrey has made our unified voice — Californians from the farthest north state to San Diego — heard in Sacramento and Washington D.C.,” said Hansen. “She instilled momentum and growth that will continue along with CalWA’s influence. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has made a great choice in reaching into California’s most experienced front ranks to hire Aubrey and will benefit from her many contacts in other regions and states,” he continued.”

CalWA’s Board of Directors will work closely with Mr. Riesgo and the Alliance’s top team to chart CalWA’s path forward.

“CalWA welcomes Raul Riesgo to its team and looks forward to working closely with him to continue pressing for reform, change and improvement of California’s water supply, reliability and water quality,” concluded Hansen.