LOS ANGELES (July 11, 2023) – George McGraw, a leading expert on water and sanitation, joined the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners for his first meeting today, following his appointment by Mayor Karen Bass and confirmation by the City Council on June 20th. He joins Board President Cynthia McClain-Hill and Board Members Mia Lehrer, Nicole Neeman Brady, and Nurit Katz.
“George McGraw is internationally known for his water policy expertise and experience working on issues related to climate change, equity and environmental justice, and ensuring that water is affordable and accessible for all people regardless of income, race or ethnicity,” Board President Cynthia McClain-Hill said. “My fellow Commissioners and I are excited to have Mr. McGraw join us on the Board.”
A longtime Angeleno, McGraw brings to the role over twelve years of expertise in water access, infrastructure and public policy. McGraw also serves as the founder and CEO of DigDeep, a human rights nonprofit working to ensure that every person in the United States has equitable access to clean, running water and sanitation services at home.
“I am honored by this appointment, and excited to put my passion and expertise to work in service of the city I love,” says George McGraw. “I’ve dedicated my career to helping families across the US gain access to the taps and toilets that so many of us take for granted. Now I’m being given the chance to bring that same, relentless focus on solving the challenges facing my friends and neighbors.”
During his tenure as CEO of DigDeep, McGraw has also led research efforts to better understand water access challenges in the United States. In 2019, he co-authored the “Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States” the first national report to quantify water access challenges and establish a roadmap for solving the problem. In 2022, McGraw was the lead author of the follow-up report “Draining: The Economic Impact of America’s Hidden Water Crisis,” which calculated that allowing millions of people to live without a tap or toilet is costing the US economy $8.58 billion every year. That data also showed that every $1 invested in closing the water gap would yield a nearly 5x return for the national economy.
McGraw is an Ashoka Fellow, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and former Social Entrepreneur in Residence at Stanford University. He holds an M.A. in International Law and the Settlement of Disputes from the United Nations University for Peace, where his thesis on the “minimum core” of human water rights quickly became an intellectual staple for human rights programs around the world.
As a longtime Angeleno, McGraw is deeply familiar with the emerging issues facing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), including aging infrastructure and water insecurity, especially in the face of a changing climate.
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