Betty H. Olson
Betty H. Olson, Ph. D.
Director and Water Quality and Innovation Committee Chair
Dr. Betty Olson was appointed to the Santa Margarita Water District Board of Directors in 1994, and elected in 1996. She was re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 and served as Board President in 2010, 2006, 2001 and 1997. She has been particularly interested in stabilizing rates, bond funding only when necessary, local water supply reliability and expanding the use of recycled water from wastewater and debilitated waters.
Dr. Olson is a full professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Henri Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Additionally, Dr. Olson was the founding Director of the Urban Water Research Center at UCI and currently serves as an Associate Director for the Center. Her areas of specialization include environmental microbiology, water and wastewater microbiology.
Before serving on the Santa Margarita Water District Board, Dr. Olson served on the Irvine Ranch Water District Board of Directors for eight years. She has also worked with a number of regulatory agencies on water issues, including: The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Orange County Water District, Irvine Ranch Water District, County Sanitation Districts of Orange County, East Bay Municipal Utility District, and the City of San Francisco Water Department.
As an elected official, Dr. Olson has been actively involved in California water policy and legislation over the last two decades. She has utilized this knowledge in teaching water policy classes, including water law and involving policy-makers. Dr. Olson also currently serves as a member representing California on the Western States Water Council.
Dr. Olson is strongly dedicated to maintaining high quality water and ensuring adequate supplies.