Doe to Retire After 27 Years on Metropolitan Water Board

Times Staff Writer

The man colleagues call “Mr. Water” because of his efforts to secure an adequate and affordable water supply to San Diego will retire from the Metropolitan Water District board Oct. 20.

Hans Doe, 82, has served on various Southern California water boards and committees since 1951. For the last 27 years, he has been on the Board of Directors of MWD, representing the San Diego County Water Authority.

Harry Griffin, director of the San Diego Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District, said Doe’s biggest contribution was to help keep water rates as low as possible in San Diego County.

“He started his crusade to control and keep water rates as low as possible when he first came to the MWD in 1959,” said Griffin. “When he started his work in the water community, these organizations were helping in the farming and agricultural systems. Today homes, businesses and the farming systems all benefit from his work.”

Griffin said Doe will remain on the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors, representing the Bueno Colorado Municipal Water Authority.


Through his work with Bueno Colorado, Doe has helped in the development of an imported water system, bringing wholesale water from Colorado to Vista, San Marcos and parts of Escondido, Griffin said.

During an interview in January, 1984, upon his retirement from the Vista Irrigation District, where he had served as president for 33 years, Doe said about the MWD: “During my lifetime I’ve seen the development of an empire.”

One of the projects Doe helped with while serving on the MWD board was the controversial State Water Project, which brings water from Northern California to Southern California.

“Actually, Doe has participated more in the policies regarding that particular project, as opposed to the construction and planning of it,” Griffin said. “He has helped implement the policies called for and outlined, to give Southern Californians greater access to water from a variety of sources.”

Doe was born in Norway and attended UC Berkeley. He managed an engineering firm in Milwaukee before moving to Vista in 1946.

He will be honored Oct. 23 at the Water Agencies Assn. of San Diego County’s quarterly meeting.