February 02, 2021

Dr. Ajami has been nominated by the Mayor of London Breed and leads the urban water policy program at Stanford University

San Francisco, CA. – Today the Supervisory Board confirmed Dr. Newsha K. Ajami, Ph.D., unanimously told the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). Mayor of London N. Breed appointed Dr. Ajami on the Commission in December 2020. Dr. Ajami is currently the director of urban water policy at Stanford University’s Water in the West and a senior scientist at the Woods Institute for the Environment. Until recently, she also served as governor for the Bay Area regional water quality control board.

“Newsha Ajami will bring a deep understanding of water policy and a new perspective to the Public Utilities Commission,” said Mayor Breed. “I am delighted that Newsha is joining the city and I am confident that her years of experience in the public sector will help improve our water and wastewater management in the Commission’s efforts to deliver clean electricity in the fight against climate change creating more, driving resilient and sustainable infrastructure. On the road to recovery, we need to focus citywide on helping San Francisco recover and come back stronger than before. The SFPUC plays an important role in the advancement of programs and Projects – from construction and infrastructure investments to people development and other community benefits – that will help us with that. “

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our city and community in this new role and I am honored to be appointed by Mayor Breed,” said Dr. Ajami. “San Francisco has been a leader in addressing many social and environmental issues over the years. I was inspired by many of the conversations I had with various members of our city’s leadership team over the past month. I look forward to working with the mayor. the board of directors, my fellow commissioners and the dedicated staff of the SFPUC in various companies to develop strategies to achieve long-term water and electricity resilience while respecting social justice and the effects of climate change. “

Dr. Ajami is a leading expert on sustainable water resource management, smart cities and the relationship between water, energy and food. She uses data science principles to study the human and political dimensions of urban water and hydrological systems. Her research over the years has been interdisciplinary and impact-oriented, focusing on improving the interface between science, politics, and stakeholders by incorporating social and economic measures as well as relevant and effective communication.

Prior to joining Stanford, she worked as a senior research fellow at the Pacific Institute from 2011 to 2013 and as a research and technology fellow on the California Senate’s Natural Resources and Water Committee, working on various water and energy laws worked. She was also a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California’s Berkeley Water Center at Berkeley.

Dr. Ajami received her Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Irvine, an MS in Hydrology and Water Resources from the University of Arizona, and a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Tehran Polytechnic.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is governed by a body composed of five commissioners, each selected according to the criteria set out in the San Francisco City Charter. Your job is to ensure operational oversight in areas such as tariffs and fees for services, approval of contracts and organizational policy.

Dr. Ajami will join the following members of the SFPUC:

  • Former San Francisco Board Member Sophie Maxwell (Appointed by Mayor Breed in 2019)
  • Longtime labor lawyer Tim Paulson (appointed by Mayor Breed in 2019)
  • Former City Controller Ed Harrington (appointed by Mayor Breed in 2020)
  • Former SFPUC Director General Anson Moran (reappointed by Mayor Breed in 2018, having first been appointed to the Commission by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2009)

The SFPUC provides drinking water for 2.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, collects and treats wastewater for the city and county of San Francisco, and generates clean electricity for community buildings, residents and businesses. The agency is committed to providing customers with high quality, efficient and reliable water, electricity and sewage services that take into account the interests of the environment and the community and preserve the resources entrusted to their care.

This news release was prepared by the San Francisco Mayor’s office. The views expressed here are the author’s own.