The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) recently presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard L. Schafer, who for 60 years has devoted his career to the conservation and sustainability of water supply and irrigation water distribution in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley. ACWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have made a remarkable and lasting contribution to California water.
For much of his career, Schafer has served as an industry leading water resources expert in the San Joaquin Valley and surrounding regions on a variety of water rights related issues. His work has focused on advancing regional and State water projects and influencing California water and agricultural policy.
“Dick’s contributions to California water and the San Joaquin Valley over the past 60 years make him highly worthy of this award,” said Brent Hastey, President of the ACWA Board of Directors. “His keen interest in water resources issues and his influence on state water policy have not only benefited the lives and livelihoods of San Joaquin Valley residents, but of all Californians.”
The award was presented during the 2018 ACWA Fall Conference and Exhibition in San Diego, where nearly 2,000 water professionals are gathered for programs and panel discussions on California’s critical water issues.
Schafer’s leadership in the Valley includes serving as Chairman of the San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Water Committee for the last 38 years and as Chairman of the Mid-Valley Water Authority’s Advisory and Negotiating Committees for the last 36 years. He actively participates on numerous other water boards and coordinates the Tulare Basin Water Quality Coalition and the Tule Subbasin Technical Advisory Committee.
Schafer recently helped spearhead the effort to enlarge Success Reservoir in Tulare County, which will double flood protection for the City of Porterville and downstream farms and communities, as well as provide additional water storage for agriculture water rights holders.
He previously served on ACWA’s State Legislative and Groundwater Committees, and from 1961 to 2017, he attended 111 consecutive ACWA conferences, a feat that may never be matched again.
In addition to his business and public service accomplishments, Schafer proudly served his country in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
More information about ACWA’s awards programs is located at www.acwa.com/about/awards.
ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose more than 450 members are responsible for about 90 percent of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit www.acwa.com.