Editor’s Note: If there’s one person who can speak to the evolving perception of how we truly value water, it has to be Radhika Fox. Radhika’s recent work with the Value of Water Coalition has led her to be recognized as an outspoken industry advocate on the subject. Radhika was recently named as the new president of the U.S. Water Alliance, officially beginning the role in September. At the time of this issue’s publication, she was involved with several public speaking obligations —including our first Water Finance Conference in early September. We caught up with Radhika after the conference to chat about the value of water and upcoming activities of her two organizations.
Going back to the beginning of your career, what was it about the water sector that appealed to you?
I’ve always worked on infrastructure related issues — housing, transportation, broadband. How infrastructure can connect us, give us a sense of place and build a stronger community is fascinating to me.
When I first joined the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) four years ago as its Policy and Government Affairs director, I was drawn to the agency because I lived in the Bay Area and the SFPUC was making some of the biggest capital investments in the region. So I came to water because I was interested in the hard infrastructure projects, but then fell in love with all the dimensions of water and how it’s essential to building strong cities and regions.
I also love that the water sector can bring benefits to communities beyond water service. Great water providers are also great community partners. They make neighborhoods stronger, they create jobs, they fuel economic development and they can help lift up the most vulnerable among us.