Longtime Kern farmer, water leader recognized for their efforts

November 17, 2022
SJV Water
by SJV Water
Gene Lundquist was recognized with the "Water Legacy Award" at the Nov. 9 annual meeting of the Water Association of Kern County. Lois Henry / SJV Water
SJV Water
SJV Water

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The Water Association of Kern County held its annual meeting and dinner Nov. 9 where it awarded its “Water Leader of the Year” and “Water Legacy Awards” to two longtime figures in the local farming and water worlds. Following is the association’s press release:
BAKERSFIELD, CA – The Water Association of Kern County proudly presented its Water Leader of the Year and Water Legacy Awards last Wednesday, November 9th, at its 2022 WAKC Annual Meeting held at Seven Oaks Country Club.
Board members and guests gathered for the 66th Annual Meeting and were excited to come together and surprise the award recipients. Scott Thayer, WAKC President, welcomed everyone to the Annual Meeting and introduced the evening’s agenda.  Guest Speaker, Mike Wade spoke on efforts by the California Farm Water Coalition and its messages on food, innovation, and pride in California farms.
WAKC elected new Board members as presented by Dolores Salgado, Secretary of WAKC.
WAKC will be joined by new board members; Laura Cattani (Kern County Water Agency), Ryan Nunneley (Oildale Mutual Water Company), and George Ming (Alliance Ag Services). We also recognized retiring Board Members; Gene Lundquist (Kern County Water Agency), Jason Meaders (Valley Water Management Company), Mike Ming (Alliance Ag Services), and Doug Nunneley (Oildale Mutual Water Company).
Every year WAKC presents the Water Leader of the Year and the Water Legacy Awards at the Annual Meeting. The Water Leader of the Year award is given for significant contributions, leadership and integrity. Jason Gianquinto, General Manager of Semitropic Water Storage District, presented the 2022 Water Leader of the Year award to Dan Waterhouse.


Dan Waterhouse, left, and Jason Gianquinto
Waterhouse has been instrumental in the coordination of the Sustainable Groundwater Management plan as Chair of the Kern Groundwater Authority.
He is also President of the Semitropic Water Storage District and a 4th generation farmer.
Gianquinto said Waterhouse “has made it his personal ethos to roll up his sleeves and “run towards the hard stuff” rather than let things sit idle or wait for someone else to take up the charge and has challenged others to do the same.”
Waterhouse has a vested interest in seeing the Kern Basin succeed through SGMA, as a family farmer raising the 5th generation on their farm.
Gianquinto continued “He has dedicated a significant amount of time working on Kern’s water issues and this dedication of time is only made possible by the support of his wife and family”
Mike Wade next presented the Water Legacy Award to honor a recipient who spent his life working in water issues, demonstrated leadership and long-term commitment to Kern County water.
Wade presented the Water Legacy Award to Gene Lundquist.
Lundquist retired from the WAKC Board earlier in the evening after serving for 47 years. Lundquist is an active Board Member of the Kern County Water Agency since 1975 and the California Farm Water Coalition since 1995.
Gene’s dedication and passion for water is unparalleled.  Wade described “Lundquist’s style of leadership is one in which he would listen to all of the issues and inputs on a decision that had to be made and, in the end, with just a few wise words, would bring the group together to make the right decision.” He added “I have appreciated having Gene on the Farm Water Coalition Board during my tenure and have always looked up to him as a model director.”
The evening was a remarkable testament to the longevity of service in the amazing individuals that represent our Kern County water community.
The Water Association of Kern County is a non-profit organization designed to educate and inform Kern County citizens about water issues and events. Members consist of local water districts, agencies and affiliated groups and individuals. More information may be found at www.wakc.com.
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