Water Planning and Program Division Director

Seattle Public Utilities
Seattle, WA

The position is open until filled.  Candidates are encouraged to submit their application by November 30, 2022, to be considered in the initial screening process.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is seeking a Water Planning and Program Management Division Director. The position is responsible for management of SPU’s regional drinking water system serving 1.5 million customers, through long range planning and forecasting, master planning, and ensuring sufficient water supply for people and fish in a manner that meets all regulatory requirements regarding safe drinking water.  

The Division Director oversees a staff of 50, an adopted operations and maintenance budget of $11M, and a projected 6-year (2023-2028) Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget of more than $800M.  The position reports to the Deputy Director, Drinking Water Line of Business and Shared Services.

About Seattle Public Utilities: Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is a Community Centered Utility whose mission is to foster healthy people, environment, and economy by partnering with our community to equitably manage water and waste resources for today and future generations. We deliver high quality, vital services, across four major lines of business: providing water, solid waste, drainage and wastewater services for Seattle residents and businesses. In addition, SPU provides drinking water for 1.5 million regional customers in Seattle and other municipalities. Our customers depend on us to deliver high quality, reliable, and cost-conscious utility services and to achieve the highest benefits possible for every investment we make. 

SPU commits to Our City Values and Race and Social Justice as core principles that guide our work. We actively take steps to dismantle systemic racism and increase service equity. We value diverse life experiences and strive to create a workplace that is welcoming to all. We take steps to be inclusive and equitable in our recruiting, hiring and promotional opportunities. 

Job Responsibilities

  • Provides management oversight of Seattle’s drinking water system ensuring that customers are provided efficient and forward-looking utility services that fulfill SPU’s operating, environmental, public health, safety, financial and regulatory commitments. Advises SPU GM/CEO and branch Deputy Directors on critical line of business policies, objectives, service levels, capital improvement projects and operations and maintenance programming.
  • Ensures regulatory and service level compliance by monitoring water system performance. Establishes and communicates service objectives and negotiates service and asset maintenance agreements with both internal and external stakeholders. Oversees regional wholesale customer contracts and serves as a member of the Water Operating Board, a governing body of wholesale customers.  Represents SPU to regulators and external partner agencies such as environmental and governmental stakeholders.
  • Oversees daily operations of regional water supplies, including reservoir and river operations for water supply, instream flow, flood management, and hydropower objectives. Oversees assessment of long-term viability of regional water supply using tools such as climate change models and water demand management models. Oversees a 24/7 staff at the Landsburg diversion and water treatment facility.
  • Oversees comprehensive drinking water line of business planning and short-, mid- and long- term plans for capital investment and operations and maintenance. Plans for the long-term viability and resiliency of the system through the development of Water’s six-year Capital Improvement Program. Partners with SPU Project Delivery and Engineering Branch to deliver Water CIP projects within established scope, schedule, and budget. Identifies and plans forward for enhanced resiliency in areas such as climate change, seismic risk, aging infrastructure, and workforce development.
  • Leads the development and implementation of strategic asset management plans for all major asset classifications in the Water line of business, including asset risk assessment, condition assessment, operations and maintenance strategies and renewal/replacement strategies.  Develops, monitors and updates long-range and master infrastructure plans that assist SPU in forecasting; budgeting; identifying realistic, accurate capital, operations and maintenance, and staffing requirements.  
  • Partners with Operations and Maintenance divisions to ensure SPU maintains its service commitment to customers, regulators, and external stakeholders.  Sets scope, budget, and staffing requirements for operations and maintenance programs based on regulatory requirements, established service levels and application of asset management principles.
  • Oversees implementation of SPU’s retail and regional water conservation programs, including hardware rebates as well as outreach and educational programs.
  • Champions and facilitates a safe and inclusive workplace that supports employee engagement, innovation, and productivity. 
  • Manages staff by planning and prioritizing work; ensuring policy and procedure compliance; recommending changes and adjustments; and monitoring staff performance and development. Provides sufficient resources and training to enable staff to provide services in an efficient, innovative, inclusive, and safe manner.
  • Works collaboratively with peers such as division directors within the branch, at SPU, and across various city departments to further SPU’s goals as described in the Strategic Business Plan. 
  • Provides 24/7 emergency response capability working with staff in the division.
  • Works at the Seattle Municipal Tower and at other staff locations.


Education:   A Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, Public Health, Environmental Management, or a related field. 


Experience: Seven (7) years increasingly responsible professional-level experience in a medium to large size public utility including two (2) years of supervisory/management experience. 

Education/Experience Equivalency:  Combination of appropriate education, training, certification, and experience will be evaluated on an individual basis for comparability to the minimum education and experience requirements.
License:  Valid current Washington State Driver license within six (6) months of hire.  

The ideal candidate should possess:

  • Experience in decision making based on Asset Management principles, focused on implementation of Asset Management Plans with O&M staff and CIP planners and engineers.
  • Experience in transmission and distribution system engineering and management, balancing available resources and rate affordability against the need to address aging infrastructure and seismic risks.
  • Experience in river and/or fisheries management, environmental compliance, and water conservation. This experience would include real-time operations of water supply as well as future-oriented planning for climate change impacts. 
  • Washington State Water Distribution Manager IV or Water Treatment Plant Operator IV License.
  • Certification as a Professional Engineer in the state of Washington.

Additional Information

This hiring process involves a background check of conviction and arrest records in compliance with Seattle’s Fair Chance Employment Ordinance, SMC 14.17 as well as verification of information provided by the applicant as part of the application process. Applicants will be provided an opportunity to explain or correct background information. 

All City of Seattle employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Failure to submit proof of vaccination or qualify for a reasonable accommodation will result in withdrawal of a job offer.

Who may apply: The City of Seattle encourages people of all backgrounds to apply, including people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans, and those with diverse life experience. This position is open to all qualified candidates that meet the minimum qualifications. The City of Seattle values diverse perspectives and life experiences. Applicants will be considered regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  

Seattle Public Utilities has three lines of business, which include: drinking water, sewer, drainage, recycling, and waste collection services in the Seattle area. 

Our “Mission” is to foster healthy people, environment, and economy by partnering with our community to equitably manage water and waste resources for today and future generations. We do this work while always keeping in mind that we need to spend customers’ money wisely.

Seattle Public Utilities is the largest water supplier in Washington State, providing drinking water to over 1.5 million people in the Puget Sound region.  The drinking water program provides:

  • Some of the highest quality drinking water in the nation because it comes from protected mountain sources.
  • Management and protection of the Cedar River and South Fork Tolt River watersheds with input from state and local agencies. In the case of the Cedar River habitat, we also partner with local tribes and manage the river to protect salmon. 
  • Maintenance of 1,800 miles of pipe to ensure that high quality drinking water gets to our customers’ homes and businesses.
  • Protection of the water supply by operating two state-of-the-art treatment facilities, conducting daily monitoring, and testing, and building underground reservoirs. Much of what we manage are unseen structures, often underground, that make the city work – and which we continue to upgrade and maintain to ensure we have 24-hours-a-day, seven days-a week utility services. 

As a city, Seattle is known as a progressive leader in technology, innovation, and the environment.  As an employer, the City of Seattle is a leading local government in environmental stewardship, green building, and social justice, making our city what it is today and shaping our future.  Our employees play an important role in making this possible.

Learn more about Seattle Public Utilities at our web page www.seattle.gov/util/.