Betty H. Olson

Betty OlsonBetty H. Olson, Ph. D.

Board Member, Chair of Engineering and Operations; Water Quality and Treatment Committee

Term 2020-2024

Dr. Betty Olson was appointed to the Santa Margarita Water District Board of Directors in 1994 and elected in 1996. She has been re-elected every cycle since. Her consistent focus over her tenure on the Board has been on stabilizing rates, using reserves to fund capital replacement and bond funding only when necessary, local water supply reliability, and expanding the use of recycled water.

Dr. Olson recently retired from her role as a full professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Henri Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. She was the founding Director of the Urban Water Research Center at UCI and served as an Associate Director for the Center. During her tenure at UCI Dir. Olson directed more than two dozen graduate students across several disciplines, including Social Ecology, Environmental Toxicology and Medicine, and Civil and Environmental Engineering as well as mentoring and guiding post-doctoral fellows and visiting professors in research at UCI.

 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, El Dorado Water District, East Bay Municipal Utility District, and the City of San Francisco Water Department. 

Dr. Olson has been actively involved in California water policy and legislation over the last two decades. She used her knowledge and experience in teaching and in her overall work in the water industry. She currently serves as an alternate member on the Western States Water Council representing California. She is currently a board member of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Dr. Olson remains strongly dedicated to maintaining high quality water and ensuring adequate supplies.