Water Resources > Projects > Operations & Maintenance


Executive Staff

Jason Phillips

Chief Executive Officer

Jason joined Friant Water Authority as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2016. In this role, he oversees all activity conducted by the authority on behalf of its member agencies and represents the public face of the organization. Prior to Friant Water Authority, Jason worked for 15 years for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region. His experience at Reclamation included Deputy Regional Director, Area Manager of the Reclamation's Klamath Basin Area Office, based in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and manager of several complex Programs in the Region including the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, Upper San Joaquin River Basin Storage Investigation (the federal Temperance Flat study), and the San Luis Drainage Feature Re-evaluation. Before this, he a was a project planner for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, on flood control and ecosystem restoration projects. Jason, his wife Melisa, and their three children live in Fresno. Jason received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at Portland State University.

Don Davis

General Counsel

Don was appointed as Friant’s General Counsel in June 2016. He is responsible for all legal compliance and contracting matters for the organization.  Since assuming office, Don has been working closely with the Board and management to update Friant’s policies, procedures and practices, and has been leading efforts to address various regulatory issues regarding the operation and maintenance of the Friant-Kern Canal. Don has provided contract general counsel and city attorney services to public agencies throughout California for nearly 25 years. In addition to representing Friant, he currently serves as the City Attorney for the City of Rolling Hills Estates, Assistant City Attorney for the City of Camarillo, and General Counsel for the Bear Valley Community Services District. Don also provides special counsel services for numerous other public agencies. Don received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University.

Doug DeFlitch

Chief Operating Officer

Doug became Friant Water Authority’s Chief Operating Officer in January 2017. In this role, he oversees the organization’s budgets, administration, and operations and maintenance work. Before joining Friant Water Authority, Doug spent the last 10 years as a Hydrologist and Manager for the Bureau of Reclamation in central California and central and western Oregon. Some of the major programs he has managed include the Rogue River Project Biological Opinion implementation, the Deschutes Habitat Conservation Plan development, and the Scoggins Dam Safety of Dams project. From 2006 to 2013, DeFlitch served as a Supervisory Hydrologist for Reclamation at the South-Central California Area Office in Fresno, and as lead operator at Friant Dam. He has also performed several temporary assignments including Chief Hydrologist for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program and Deputy Area Manager for the South-Central California Area Office.  Before his federal career, he was a Water Resources Specialist for the Friant Water Users Authority and Geologist for ENSR Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA. DeFlitch holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Geology from the University of Pittsburgh and California State University, Fresno, respectively. He is also a graduate of the USDA Graduate School Executive Leadership Program.

Alexandra Biering

Government Affairs and Communications Manager

Alex joined Friant Water Authority in July 2016. She is responsible for coordinating with congressional and legislative representatives and their staff, working with state and federal agencies on regulatory or planning processes that could affect the Friant Division’s water supply, and overseeing media relations and public information for Friant Water Authority. Before coming to Friant Water Authority, Alex was a public affairs specialist and water resources planner at MWH Global for eight years. At MWH Global, her she supported a range of state, federal, and local government agencies on planning and environmental studies related to agricultural water supply, climate change, flood control, and groundwater management. She also spent three years in the administration of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, where she supported his Special Advisor on Jobs and Economic Growth and served as an Assistant Director for Communications at the California Resources Agency. Alex holds a Master of Public Policy from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, with a second major in Politics, from the University of San Francisco.

Jeff Payne

Director of Water Policy

Jeff joined Friant Water Authority in June 2016. He coordinates with state and federal agencies on regulatory or planning processes that could affect the Friant water supply, leads efforts to monitor and defend the reliability of Friant water supplies, oversees special studies related to the improvement of Friant district sustainability, and assists the CEO in coordination of activities and strategic goals among Friant member agencies and strategic partners. Before joining Friant Water Authority, Jeff was a Principal Engineer at MWH Global where he oversaw Federal water planning and infrastructure feasibility studies, most notably for implementation of the San Joaquin River Settlement’s Water Management Goal. As a consultant, Jeff oversaw planning studies throughout the U.S. related to agricultural and urban water supply, climate change, hydropower relicensing, aquatic ecosystem enhancement, and the integrated management of water resources. Jeff holds a Master of Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

Steve Ottemoeller

Water Resources Manager

Steve Ottemoeller joined Friant Water Authority in January 2008.  His primary areas of responsibility include implementation of the Water Management Goal of the San Joaquin River Settlement, representing Authority member interests on Bay Delta issues and working on water policy issues that affect the water resources of the member agencies. Prior to moving to Friant Water Authority, Steve spent the first 23 years of his professional career working for public water agencies in the central San Joaquin Valley, including more than six years as General Manager of Madera Irrigation District, where he was involved in early stages of the San Joaquin River Restoration litigation settlement negotiations, and 16 years with Westlands Water District, where he was involved in statewide water policy issues and was responsible for the district’s water supply resources and water transfers. During the three years prior to working for Friant, he worked as Director of Central Valley Water Resources for URS Corporation, an international engineering and consulting firm. Steve has been actively involved in numerous California water policy issues including the CalFed Bay-Delta process, implementation of the 1992 CVP Improvement Act, development of state-wide water transfer policies and negotiations of regional water rights settlements. Steve is a graduate of California State University, Fresno, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1980, and is a registered Professional Civil Engineer in the State of California.