public affairs

Deputy Director, State Water Project


Joel Ledesma

Joel Ledesma, Deputy Director
State Water Project


Joel Ledesma was appointed State Water Project Deputy Director in July 2017 by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

Ledesma is an electrical engineer who has worked with the Department of Water Resources for more than three decades and has expertise in water, energy, and project management. He has served as Assistant Division Chief of Operations and Maintenance, Chief of Plant Asset Management Branch, Chief of the Delta Field Division, Chief of Systems Support Office, and Chief of Energy Management Systems Branch.

He has led several DWR projects, including the Department’s preparation of the initial startup of the California Independent System Operator (ISO) Corporation, Business 2000- Phase 2B, implementation of Cyber Infrastructure Protection Program for SWP, and Market Redesign Technical Upgrade project in compliance with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and ISO regulatory and energy market requirements.

From January 4, 2016 until his appointment to Deputy Director, Ledesma was Assistant Division Chief 2, Chief of Utility Operations for Operations and Maintenance where he oversaw SWP Operations Control Office, Oroville Field Division, and Delta Field Division with over 350 employees. This included overseeing SWP Water Supply, ensuring coordination of statewide SWP operations and maintenance, and coordinating water delivery with SWP contractors. Prior to that role, he managed more than 130 employees as Delta Field Division Chief, overseeing the operation and maintenance of five pumping plants, four reservoirs, four dams, two major environmental projects, and 115.6 miles of three aqueducts that included the California Aqueduct, North Bay Aqueduct, and South Bay Aqueduct.

As SWP Deputy Director, Ledesma will oversee the Division of Engineering, Delta Habitat Conservation and Conveyance Program, the State Water Project (SWP) Power and Risk Office, Hydropower License Planning and Compliance Office, State Water Project Analysis Office, Conveyance Office, Division of Environmental Services, Bay-Delta Office, and DWR’s largest division -- the Division of Operations and Maintenance, which includes the five field division offices.

A native of Sacramento, Ledesma earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering with a concentration in Power from the California State University, Sacramento.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:
California Department of Water Resources
P.O. Box 942836, Room 1115
Sacramento, CA 94236-0001

Street Address:
1416 9th Street, Room 1115-9
Sacramento, CA 95814

Marla Cole, Executive Assistant
Telephone: (916) 653-8043
E-Mail Address: Marla.Cole@water.ca.gov
Mailing Address: same as above