Valley Water CEO Set to Retire

Norma Camacho, the chief executive of Silicon Valley’s largest water district, expects to retire by July 10, according to a letter obtained by San Jose Inside.

The Valley Water boss announced her decision in a Nov. 25 letter to the agency’s seven-member governing board, saying she’ll take a six-week leave up through her final day.

Camacho—whose total pay and benefits amount to $384,000, according to the most recent available data on public employee salary website Transparent California—became interim CEO in March 2016 after her predecessor Beau Goldie was pushed out. In a split vote more than a year later—and four months after the Coyote Creek flood displaced thousands of residents and caused $100 million in property damage—the board knocked the “interim” off Camacho’s title, praising her ability to lead the complex organization.

Camacho’s Nov. 25 letter thanks the board of directors for giving her a chance to lead the agency and praises her team for achieving several “recent notable accomplishments,” including obtaining full funding for the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline project and breaking ground on Upper Llagas flood protection infrastructure.

Source: Valley Water

“I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to oversee these amazing accomplishments, all of which were ‘powered’ through by the outstanding and driven professionals at Valley Water,” she wrote.

Camacho, who did not immediately return a request for comment, applauded Valley Water for establishing itself as “a statewide leader” in water management.

“Although I would like to continue to be a part of Valley Water’s maturation process,” Camacho wrote, “both myself and my family are also maturing rapidly, making the remaining time I have with them very precious.”

The next CEO will shepherd the agency’s $5.6 billion five-year capital improvement plan, which will create an estimated 20,000 private-sector jobs by upgrading infrastructure that provides flood protection and drinking water to nearly 2 million South Bay residents.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Perhaps Ms Camacho was entangled in some of the past dramas at the water company, but I watch some of her presentations and interviews, and frankly I found Ms Camacho capable and professional. Best of luck.

  2. Under current setup, Camacho would collect full retirement and medical benefit for her and her family for life!! On top of that, would not be surprise Camacho collected hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ $$ as a lump sum bonus (sickleave cashout) upon exiting Valley Water just like any her predecessors – Jim Fiedler, Nai Hsue, and later Rick Callendar. What has Camacho done during her tenure?

    Valley Water’s executive hires or promotions at all levels are directly favoring to the political background of the board of directors…voice sound the same, Hispanic last name, etc. The same pattern …Camacho, Alvarez. This is a corrupt, incompetent and cowardly agency as one resident puts it. Decades of dam failures, unsafe unreliable water supply and flood control. Shame on them to blame SJC for the recent Coyote Creek flooding. NO Accountability!
    Enough is enough after decades (2x 15 years) of misused, mismanaged taxpayers’ hard earned $$. Decades of Under delivered, over budgeted, defect deliverables. They sure know how to fool voters over and over again. Exhorbitant executive and management pays, bonuses, lifetime full medical and retirement for employees + family. Under the current setup, each employee collects hundreds of thousands of $$ (sickleave cashout) if not upward $.5 million in the case of executive and upper management, upon exiting Valley Water. The pays and benefits are guaranteed regardless of economic conditions, while taxpayers cannot short a dime on property tax or risk foreclosure!! How long can taxpayers continue to bear such enormous costs? Not sustainable.
    Anderson Dam/Reservoir is not a $576-millions project as proposed. It’s a billion $$ problem. This reservoir along 9 other reservoirs owned by Valley Water and Almaden Lake are saturated with and continually collect carcinogenic mercury contaminants that the Valley Water has bandaid/masked the problem for decades. Regulatory agencies have notified Valley Water potential dam failures and mercury ladden waters decades back during ex-ceo Stan Williams era. But Valley Water has been operating as usual one ceo after another. Valley Water has spent taxpayers’ hard earned $$ on lavish political campaigns, trips, propaganda, lobbying, and exhorbitant pays and benefits instead on projects it promised to deliver. By private business standard, Valley Water would have been in jail and refunded taxpayers’s funds it collected all these decades of reckless and mismanagment. Time to break up Valley Water’s monopoly game!! Vote them all out! Vote NO more taxes!

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