During her tenure at WRD, Lillian initiated the Eco Gardener program to promote water awareness and educate people about sustainability practices.
Lillian Kawasaki was born in Denver, CO on September 17, 1950, the oldest of three children. Her love for public service was inspired by her father who joined the Army after his release from the Manzanar Internment Camp because, in his words, “it was the right thing to do.” Lillian would later become a co-founder for the Friends of Manzanar, a volunteer organization that supports the Manzanar National Historic Site.
Ms. Kawasaki was the first Asian American department appointee for the City of Los Angeles where she headed the Department of Environmental Affairs and spearheaded major initiatives to protect air and water for the City’s four million residents. She would later serve as General Manager of the City’s Community Development Department. Appointed by the California Governor and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Lillian was also a member of the California Bay-Delta Public Advisory Committee (BDPAC).
Upon retiring, Lillian remained active in water issues and was elected in November 2006 to represent Division 3 on the Board of Directors at the Water Replenishment District of Southern California. Division 3 serves the cities of Long Beach, Cerritos, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Artesia, La Mirada and Hawaiian Gardens. Ms. Kawasaki also served on the Long Beach Water Commission.
During her tenure at WRD, Lillian initiated the Eco Gardener program to promote water awareness and educate people about sustainability practices. She held the program close to her heart and the WRD Board of Directors honored her for her commitment and dedication to public service by naming the Eco Gardener Program, as well as the facility demonstration gardens after her.
Lillian passed away in 2013 at her home in Long Beach, and will be remembered for her lifelong commitment and dedication to public service.