Iris Priestaf


Photo of Iris


Dr. Priestaf has more than 30 years of experience in groundwater investigations, combining research and teaching at the university level and consulting on a variety of water management issues. A doctoral student of Dr. David Keith Todd, she was Todd Groundwater's first employee and worked with Dr. Todd for 28 years, becoming Vice President in 1989 and President in 2003. She has consulted on numerous projects involving groundwater basin characterization, development, planning and management, with particular work on issues of development within the context of the water balance, including service as an expert witness. Her expertise in water balance studies has been built on academic training in climatology, meteorology, hydrology, soil science, geomorphology, biogeography, and related disciplines. She has managed water balance studies all across California in a variety of environments and using multiple techniques relevant to the issues at hand.

She has worked with numerous water agencies, cities, counties, and private organizations in groundwater resource planning, including preparation of groundwater management plans, urban water management plans, and salt nutrient management plans. For agencies with established and ongoing groundwater management programs, she has directed preparation of well-written annual groundwater reports that present a succinct summary of the state of the basin while providing useful and well-organized data. She has considerable experience with CEQA, focusing on groundwater issues and having assisted in the preparation of more than 60 environmental documents. These have addressed issues including potential impacts of groundwater pumping on nearby wells and streams, impacts of mining on groundwater, and impacts of recycled water use. She has prepared numerous SB 610 water supply assessments, addressing a variety of planned developments including residential, commercial, office, and industrial land uses.

Iris is an experienced public speaker — having presented to numerous public agency policy makers, stakeholder groups, and professional organizations — with specific skills in the effective presentation of complex groundwater issues to audiences with a wide range of backgrounds. She is an active member of the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Groundwater Committee.

Academic Background:

PhD, Geography, University of California at Berkeley, 1983
MA, Geography, University of California at Berkeley, 1976
BA, Geography, University of California at Santa Barbara, 1974