The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is delighted to announce that Michelle Banonis has been selected as the organization’s new Manager of Strategic Affairs.
Banonis has over two decades of experience in water, ecosystems, engineering, policy, and law, and most recently served as the Assistant Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources where she worked on water-related issues of statewide significance with multiple interests.
Previously, she was with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Sacramento where she served as the Bay-Delta Area Manager, Special Assistant to the Regional Director, WaterFix Program Manager, and various roles with the San Joaquin River Restoration Program.
“Michelle is an outstanding match for this position, and we are thrilled that she will be providing her expertise and leadership to the Sacramento region,” said Jim Peifer, Executive Director of the Regional Water Authority (RWA), which represents 20 water providers serving 2 million people in the greater Sacramento region.
“Her diverse background in water resources and environmental management, skill set, and extensive relationships within the water community are going to be vital to sha
ping the region’s water future as we implement plans to adapt to a changing climate,” Peifer said.
Banonis joins the organization in a new position, created to lead programs focused on improving the region’s water supply reliability, navigating regulatory matters such as the Water Quality Control Plans and voluntary agreements, building coalitions, and supporting RWA’s Federal Affairs program.
“Michelle will be key to advancing the region’s innovative WaterFuture Initiative, and especially the Sacramento Regional Water Bank,” said RWA Board Chair Sean Bigley. “Her extensive experience and record of leadership will help attract investment in our region’s watershed to both protect our water supply and further improve our ecosystems in the American River.”
Banonis holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University. She later earned her Juris Doctor from Humphreys Colle
ge in Stockton and is also a licensed attorney. She is scheduled to begin her new position on February 22, 2021.
The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is a joint powers authority representing 20 water providers serving 2 million people in the greater Sacramento region. Formed in 2001, its primary mission is to help its members protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources. Learn more at rwah2o.org.