Current and former board members and staff of Yuba Water are saddened to learn of the recent passing of the agency’s former engineer-administrator, Donn Wilson, who oversaw the agency from 1987 until his retirement in 2000. He was 89 years old.
“Donn was exceptional both as a leader and as a friend,” said Brent Hastey, a former board director for Yuba Water. “One moment that stands out in particular was following the ‘97 flood, when he invited me and my family – a total of nine of us – to stay at his house after ours was flooded. I will never forget that act of kindness.”
“Donn played a big role in reducing flood risk and balancing Yuba County’s water supplies during his time as general manager,” said Yuba Water Board Director Charlie Mathews.
During his tenure, Wilson championed modest water transfers to other regions in need in California to raise funds for much-needed levee improvements in Yuba County. The income from these early water transfers was critical in helping the agency secure additional state and federal funding for levee studies and significant levee improvements in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
In addition, Wilson helped expand groundwater monitoring in the region and implemented a comprehensive water supply plan to restore dwindling groundwater levels in South Yuba County.
Before joining Yuba Water, Wilson managed the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s Pardee Reservoir hydropower and water distribution project. He also previously served as a director of public works, city engineer and city manager in Crescent City and worked for irrigation districts in Madera and Tulare. Wilson was a United States Marine Corps veteran and served in the Korean War.
Wilson passed away peacefully at home with his family on February 14. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Doreen, two sons and an extended family.
The full obituary for Wilson can be accessed here.