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Meet our California Water Professionals for #CAWaterWeek!

Kassy Chauhan, Executive Officer, North Kings GSA

For California Water Professionals Appreciation Week, we’re celebrating North Kings GSA Executive Officer, Kassy Chauhan. Kassy is at the helm of the GSA, working with staff and consultants to implement the Board-approved groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) to create a sustainable future within the GSA boundary. She works with member agencies, stakeholders, and neighbors along the North Kings GSA to execute sustainability projects, optimize operational practices, and understand the dynamic groundwater conditions.

It’s not always easy to describe what a water professional does.

“I usually start with, ‘It’s complicated.’ Then I move into explaining I am in charge of managing the groundwater in the North Kings GSA boundary and eliminating chronic overdraft so we have plenty of water for our kids, their kids, and future generations,” Kassy said.

She finds the most rewarding part of her job is knowing she’s part of creating a change in behavioral practices which will have lasting results for many years to come.

As for new and young water professionals, she encourages them to be open to new possibilities.

“I never imagined when I graduated that this is what I would be doing many years later. It is important to love what you do, and I love what I do,” she said. “If you’re looking for a challenging but rewarding career, choose one in the water industry.”

Kevin Mitchell, GIS Specialist and Surveyor, Fresno Irrigation District

If you need to collect and analyze data, Kevin Mitchell is the one to get it done. For California Water Professionals Appreciation Week, we’re celebrating Kevin Mitchell, who supports North Kings GSA using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS is a computer software that allows professionals like Kevin to analyze data and develop maps. He likens it to maps that show water infrastructure and farms rather than hotels and restaurants.

The web map and database give North Kings GSA the ability to analyze when and where changing groundwater conditions are having a direct impact on the residents within the GSA boundaries..

Water resource management requires a broad basic understanding of fields like engineering, construction, chemistry, hydrology, geology, geography, agriculture, and more.

“Never stop learning,” Kevin advises young water professionals.

While not an expert in all these disciplines, it’s important to strive to understand how these concepts connect with each water professional’s area of interest.

He says the most rewarding part of his job is the legacy behind his work.

“It’s possible that the groundwater recharge basins that we are building today will last hundreds of years into the future. Knowing that the work our team is doing will help ensure a sustainable community for hundreds of thousands of people gives me a sense of fulfillment,” Kevin said.

Gavin O’Leary, Director of Operations, GIS and Survey, Provost & Pritchard

When Gavin O’Leary isn’t leading his GIS team, you might find him fly fishing on a quiet stretch of water. But during the work week, he directs a team that uses spatial data to help answer complex questions related to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The goal is to help North Kings GSA respond to the needs of its mission – groundwater sustainability.

“I manage a group of professional data nerds, and I love it,” Gavin said.

GIS is complex, and Gavin advises young water professionals to assume things are never as they seem.

“Ask questions to get the full understanding of why and how it is the way it is. The caveats are the key to understanding!” he said.

He loves helping clients and mentoring other staff to do the same.

Breanna Hardy, External Affairs Specialist, Provost & Pritchard

If you’ve received the North Kings GSA’s Grower’s Corner in your inbox, there’s a high chance that Breanna Hardy helped put it together. Breanna is an External Affairs Specialist at Provost & Pritchard, and works on outreach and communications for North Kings GSA.

Breanna imagined spotlighting growers within the North Kings GSA boundary to tell their stories and show fellow stakeholders how they engage in groundwater sustainability practices to keep sustainability goals in local hands.

“I love chatting with growers about their irrigation methods and groundwater sustainability goals. It’s fun to learn their story and hear the passion behind what they do. I turn our conversations into a multimedia feature piece, which typically includes video and a written piece,” Breanna said.

As a young water professional herself, she’s taking in all the information she can through seasoned water professionals around her.

“There is always something new to learn, and the water industry has plenty of diverse opportunities for professionals to participate in a sustainable future,” she said.

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