Green Builder Coalition

The Torch – April 5, 2023

The Torch Offical Publication of Green Builder Coalition

Next Generation Water Summit’s Friday Keynote to Discuss “One Water” Approach at the Utility Scale

Water reuse and conservation are the central theme to the 2023 Next Generation Water Summit (NGWS). It’s only fitting that the Friday keynote will address both of these critical issues directly. Adel Hagekhalil, General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District in Southern California, will discuss his experience on both reuse and conservation, as well as his assertion that securing water resilience through a lens of water totality is the primary solution.

Adel Hagekhalil

Hagekhalil’s keynote will kick off Day 2 of the NGWS, scheduled for 9:00am MT on Friday, June 16.

“We are working in a new reality, a new normal, where every year it feels like a record is broken – record heat, record dry, record snow,” said Hagekhalil. “We must manage this climate whiplash so that we can provide reliable water supplies. That means prioritizing storage, building on our progress in conservation, and investing in new, local water supplies like water recycling and stormwater capture. Working through integrated solutions as part of the ‘One Water’ approach, I know we can build a stronger, more resilient future for our communities and our region.”

Water is increasingly scarce. Growing the water supply through reuse has to be part of the solution, even though in some locales it is not preferred. Furthermore, promoting conservation during both drought and non-drought conditions is necessary. Hagekhalil’s “One Water” perspective seeks to disrupt the siloed practices of today’s water management with a more inclusive and holistic approach.

As general manager, Hagekhalil is responsible for leading Metropolitan Water District’s daily and long-term operations and planning to provide safe, reliable water to Southern California. Previously, he served nearly 10 years as assistant general manager of the Los Angeles’ Bureau of Sanitation, led the city’s wastewater collection system, stormwater and watershed protection program, water quality compliance, advance planning and facilities. He also helped develop the city’s 2040 One Water LA Plan, an award-winning regional watershed approach to integrate water supply, reuse, conservation, stormwater management and wastewater facilities planning.

Next Generation Water Summit logoResidents of the City of Santa Fe are eligible for free virtual admission to the event. Registration is required. To register or for more information, please visit

The Next Generation Water Summit will feature over 25 different live sessions from speakers around the U.S., in addition to an on-demand library of educational offerings. All sessions will be viewable online and available for up to 30 days after the Summit.

Hosts of the Next Generation Water Summit are the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce; Green Builder® Coalition; City of Santa Fe; KUELwater and the Santa Fe Area Homebuilder’s Association. The Presenting sponsors for this year’s NGWS are PNM and AVANGRID. The national media partner is Green Builder® Media, and the Education Partner is Santa Fe Community College.

About the Next Generation Water Summit
The Next Generation Water Summit brings together the building and development community, water reuse professionals and water policymakers in a collaborative setting to share best practices and learn about innovative water conservation and water reuse techniques that can be used to comply with water conservation restrictions spreading across the southwest.

Member Spotlight: Nick Arvidson

From time to time, we like to throw the spotlight onto our Members to highlight the good work they’re doing in the industry… and for our planet. Today, we feature our first WERS Field Inspector, who then became our latest WERS Verifier, Nick Arvidson. He currently operates in New Mexico.

Nick Arvidson

The Torch: What motivated you to enter the sustainability field?

Nick Arvidson: While working towards my BS in Architecture, I found I wasn’t as excited about the design of buildings but more interested in how they were put together. I was fortunate that my program had classes in sustainability where I was able to realize that I am more interested in contributing to ways in which buildings could become more energy efficient, increase occupant comfort, and be more resilient to the ever‐changing world.


TT: Describe your first green project. Did you encounter any hurdles on that first project? (If yes, how did you overcome them?)

NA: I can’t remember my first project, but my first job in this industry was doing energy audits on existing homes for a utility program in Rhode Island. With the housing stock ranging from 1800 to present, it could be challenging to find the best solutions for home weatherization and efficiency upgrades.


TT: What building product or technique do you think will be the next “game changer”?

NA: I think the continuing advancement of heat pumps will drive them to be more affordable and efficient. With research being done toward replacing refrigerants with less harmful options, they can become an even more sustainable way to heat and cool buildings. I am often cautious when new products or ideas claim to be a “magic bullet” or “all in one” solution. While looking back, we can see that some of the most traditional building methods are often the longest lasting, durable, and sustainable structures.


TT: Who inspires you the most?

NA: I wouldn’t say I have a specific person that inspires me the most. I think anyone who strives to always be learning new things and doesn’t get complacent with the status quo would be someone who inspires me to do the same. Often, these people are also the ones who strive to share as much information as they glean and believe that knowledge is something to nurture and expand on. They see the positives in passing this freely on to others instead of hoarding knowledge for themselves.


TT: If you had it to do over again, what profession would you choose?

NA: If I did this over again, I would still choose this field. I think I would pursue the building side of the industry though. I have always enjoyed working with my hands and being outside in all seasons. I feel builders also have a better opportunity to push the industry toward more sustainable practices.


TT: What do you enjoy the most when you’re not at work?

NA: When not working, I enjoy spending time outside, whether its skiing, mountain biking, hiking, or backpacking with my partner, Hannah, and dog, Fergus.


TT: What’s the most important piece of advice you’d like to pass along to others?

NA: For the younger generation, I would say to take their time. There’s no need to rush into a career. There are many great opportunities to explore after high school that allow you to make some money while traveling and have new experiences that can influence you just as much as higher education can. Then, if you want to or when you’re ready to, you can pursue higher education and get qualified to do something that fulfills you and your goals.


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