Kerry Schmitz, Water Supply Division Chief, Sacramento County Water Agency

Water Caucus

Kerry Schmitz

Educational background

Bachelor of Civil Engineering, University of Nevada Reno, with an emphasis on Environmental Engineering

Professional experience

I started at the Spink Corporation doing water system modeling for six years. I was hired by Sacramento County to work in the Stormwater Quality program for the next six years. I was promoted to Water Supply Principal Engineer in 2009 and managed the Water Supply Engineering group. I was promoted to Water Supply Division Chief in 2012, and I currently oversee engineering and operations for Sacramento County Water Agency.

Favorite work-related project so far 

The most challenging project has been working to ensure that multiple groundwater basins in Sacramento County successfully comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. My favorite project is the Water Forum.

History with the Water Forum

I started working with the Water Forum in 2009—I specifically asked to be assigned to the Water Forum when I was hired as Water Supply Principal. I didn’t know much about it other than it was important to the region. I’ve enjoyed the relationships and the knowledge gained in the nearly 13 years (wow!!) I’ve been involved in the Water Forum.

Why it is important to be involved in the Water Forum

Sacramento County and Sacramento County Water Agency (SCWA) are important partners in the Water Forum as the largest funder of the program and the broadest interest base to represent. Our region’s success depends on a healthy river and sustainable water supplies, and the County and SCWA need active engagement in the Water Forum to represent regional interests.

Most valuable lesson learned (or advice) when it comes to coming to agreement

Listen to what others are saying and be open to different ways to solve problems.

What’s unique about the American River region

The people in this region recognize that we have an asset in the American River and Parkway, and we have a diverse group of people and entities that are working diligently and collaboratively to protect it.

Favorite location and/or activity on the lower American River

I’m a runner so I enjoy running along the Parkway.

Secret talent

No secret talent, but I can’t get away from water, even in my personal life. I serve as secretary/treasurer for a 19-customer water district—Ophir Prison Estates Mutual Water Company. (There’s no Ophir Prison, FYI.)

Personal motto

It’s more of a counter-motto: The response, “Because we’ve always done it this way,” is never a good answer to a question and always makes me dig deeper into an issue.