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January 12, 2011 (Rancho San Diego) -- Friends of the Water Conservation Garden, a new organization of community volunteers, is now governing and operating the Water Conservation Garden.


“We are convinced of the vital importance of the Garden to San Diego’s and Southern California’s long term quality of life”, stated President Michael Grisdale. “Water conservation is essential for this region, and the Garden is leading the way to a beautiful and sustainable environment by successfully promoting significant changes to people’s landscaping behavior.”


Grisdale is the Principal of Operculum Consulting. Other board members include Richard Wright, a retired SDSU professor; Eleanor Hugus, C.E.O. of N.N. Jaeschke; Damian Esparza, Principal and Reserve Specialist of Barrera and Company; Chuck Hansen Vice President of Community Relations for Viejas Enterprises; Deanna Weeks, retired C.E.O. and President of the East County Economic Development Council; Darin Handley, Vice President and Market Growth and Development Consultant , Wells Fargo Bank; Brenda Martin, Nursery Manager for Cuyamaca College; and Mark Weston, General Manager of the Helix Water District, representing the Water Conservation Garden Authority.


The Garden was managed successfully through December 31, 2010, by the Water Conservation Garden Authority, a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) composed of the San Diego County Water Authority, the Helix Water District, the Otay Water District, the Sweetwater Authority, the City of San Diego, and the Grossmont- Cuyamaca Community College District. The JPA continues to support the Garden financially, and together with the Friends put together a new management agreement that all agree is in the best interests of, and will open significant new opportunities for, The Garden.


“The Garden staff members are delighted with the talents and dedication of our new governing board, stated Executive Director Marty Eberhardt. “We believe that we can build on the superb foundation laid by the JPA, and, through our exhibits, classes, events, and outreach programs, can serve as the educational epicenter for conservation in the landscape.”


Opened in 1999, the Garden is dedicated to promoting water conservation in the southern California landscape through exhibits and programs designed to educate and inspire the public. The Garden is supported by memberships, donations, grants, and water agency support. For more information, please visit or call 619-660-0614x10.

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