Liquid News

IRWD Remembers Joan Arneson, General Counsel for IRWD

Joan C. Arneson, IRWD General Counsel and longtime member of the Irvine Ranch Water District family, has died.

“We have lost one of California’s best, someone whose impact on the entire water community will be felt for a very long time,” said IRWD Board President Douglas Reinhart.  “Her wise, yet creative, legal counsel thoughtfully and successfully guided IRWD for decades.”

Arneson first arrived at IRWD in 1978 as a young associate of the well-respected Orange County legal firm lead by Alexander Bowie. She was appointed as IRWD General Counsel in 1984.

Her groundbreaking legal work on budget based rate structures, recycled water and environmental policy, water banking, energy storage systems, special district finance and real estate ownership laid the critical foundation for some of IRWD’s most noteworthy programs.  Her thoughts and guidance influenced in some way nearly every project and program implemented by IRWD, from the San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary and the Natural Treatment System to the San Joaquin Reservoir, the Michelson Water Recycling Plant and the soon-to-be completed Biosolids and Energy Recovery Project.

Over the years, Arneson served on various legal and policy committees for the Association of California Water Agencies, the California Association of Sanitation Agencies and the California WateReuse Association, helping craft important water policy legislation and regulations.

In 2011, on the 50th anniversary of the District, Joan was awarded an IRWD Certificate of Commendation as a key partner in service from the Board of Directors of the Irvine Ranch Water District for her 25 years plus of excellent service to Irvine Ranch Water District.

“Joan’s creative, solid counsel on technical solutions to policies and projects provided an incalculable benefit to both the agency and our customers,” remembered Paul Cook, IRWD General Manager. “She was a friend and a colleague. She will be missed.”

Joan Arneson was a partner at Bowie, Arneson, Wiles & Giannone. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California at Davis.  

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