John Withers

Board of Directors Member
Irvine Ranch Water District

John Withers was appointed to the IRWD Board of Directors in 1989 to fill a board vacancy and has been elected to subsequent terms, including 2020 when he was elected to represent Division 1 under a new division-based election process.  He served as board president in 2004 and vice president in 2012 and 2021. He serves on the Water Resources Policy & Communications, and Engineering & Operations committees, as well as various ad hoc representations and assignments.

Withers is a partner with California Strategies, LLC, in Irvine, a statewide, strategic government-relations firm. In past positions, Withers has served as vice president of community development for Lewis Operating Corp. and as director of water resources for Psomas & Associates, a civil engineering and planning firm. He was also the director of governmental affairs for the Building Industry Association Orange County Chapter, and a legislative advocate for Crocker Bank and a major trade association in Sacramento.

Withers is chairman of the Orange County Sanitation District Board of Directors, where he has served since 2009. He is chairman and board member of the National Water Research Institute, a former chair and commissioner of the Local Agency Formation Commission, and former chair and member of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. 

A native Southern Californian, Withers earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from UCLA with a specialization in urban studies. He was then selected as a CORO Foundation Fellow and earned a master’s degree in urban studies from Occidental College.

Community activities include membership in the UCLA Alumni Association, youth sports and Mariners Church.

A resident of Irvine since 1984, Withers lives in Northwood with his wife, Katie. They have three grown children, Carolyn, Gordon, and Peter.