Nahai is the former General Manager and Commission President of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (“LADWP”), former Chairman of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (“Regional Water Board”), and former Senior Advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative. In January 2021, Nahai was reappointed to the Regional Board by Governor Gavin Newsom, the fourth California Governor to appoint Nahai to this post.
Currently, Nahai is the President of David Nahai Consulting Services, the President of David Nahai Associates, and a Managing Partner at AQORA Capital Management Company.
David Nahai Consulting Services advises and assists private and public entities involved in the real estate, renewable energy, water, and environmental sectors.
David Nahai Associates is a law firm specializing in transactional real estate, energy, water, and environmental matters.
Aqora Capital is a growth capital firm focused on investment in “growth” stage companies active in the sustainability arena.
Prior to his return to the private sector, Nahai served as the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the largest municipal utility in the United States. In this capacity, Nahai oversaw more than 9,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $4.5 billion. Nahai also served for two years on the LADWP Board of Commissioners prior to becoming General Manager. He was the Vice-President and President of the Board.
Nahai led an overall transformation of the LADWP that included the unprecedented expansion of the utility’s renewable energy portfolio; the origination of the City’s Water Supply Plan; the attainment of historic reductions in water consumption in the City; the realization of record breaking energy efficiency levels; and the launch and implementation of water and power infrastructure improvement programs.
Following his departure from LADWP, Nahai became Senior Advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative, a division of the Clinton Foundation. The mission of the Clinton Climate Initiative is to bring about the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale through specific project partnerships with governments around the world.
Nahai previously served for over 10 years on the Regional Water Board. He was reappointed to this position by Governor Newsom in January 2021. The Regional Water Board safeguards the quality of surface, ground, and coastal waters in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, an area with over 11 million residents. With is recent reappointment, Nahai will have served in the administrations of four California Governors. Nahai was elected to an unprecedented four terms as Chairman of the Board.
Nahai is credited with reinvigorating the effectiveness of the Regional Water Board and spearheading some of its most aggressive programs, especially in the area of coastal protection. The Water Board’s prestigious annual awards were named the “H. David Nahai Water Quality Awards” in recognition of his service.
Nahai began his career in the private sector as an attorney four decades ago, working at some of the United States’ largest and most respected law firms. He started at Loeb & Loeb and was a partner at Memel, Jacobs, Pierno, Gersh & Ellsworth, and at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. Nahai then formed Nahai Law Corporation, specializing in real estate, corporate, environmental and commercial law. He divested his interest in the firm to take up the CEO position at LADWP. Following his departure form LADWP, Nahai joined the national law firm of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith where he co-chaired the firm’s real estate, energy, water, and environmental practice areas. He left Lewis Brisbois to launch David Nahai Associates in 2021.
As a transactional real estate and environmental lawyer for 40 years, Nahai has represented clients and performed transactions at the highest levels, working on complex matters and supervising teams of attorneys. Nahai is an AV rated lawyer. Nahai has extensive experience in handling real estate transactions of all kinds, including the following: purchase and sale transactions; leases and ground leases; financing transactions; and construction and development agreements. Much of his practice involves a combination of real estate, energy, and water issues. Nahai was named as one of the best real estate lawyers in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal. He was also a runner up in the “Leaders in Law” awards also by LABJ.
Recently, Nahai’s new book “Commercial Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreements in California- a Beginner’s Guide” was published by Thompson-Reuters. In addition, Nahai co-authored “Inside the Minds; Strategies for Green Real Estate Law”, also published by Thompson-Reuters.
Nahai sits on the Boards of the Los Angeles Business Council, California League of Conservation Voters, UCLA Luskin Center, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, and Climate Resolve. Nahai has also served on the Boards of numerous charities, including the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, the Iranian American Jewish Federation, and the Jewish Community Foundation.
Nahai has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations.
Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters
Smith Weiss Environmental Champion Award - 2003
Bnai Zion Foundation: Celebration of Life Award - 2003
AMIT: Man of Accomplishment Award - 2005
Heal the Bay: Dorothy Green Award - 2008
Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board: Service Award - 2008
Sierra Club: Political Leadership Award - 2012
Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission: Leadership Award - 2013
Los Angeles Business Journal: “Top Real Estate Lawyers in Los Angeles” - 2013
Bend the Arc: Leadership Award - 2014
Climate Resolve: Commendation - 2014
Los Angeles for a New Economy (LAANE): Honor - 2018
Nessah Cultural Center: Community Leader Award - 2019
Los Angeles Business Journal: “Leaders In Law” Award (runner up) - 2021
Nahai holds graduate and post-graduate degrees in law from the London School of Economics and the
University of California at Berkeley, and was a Visiting Scholar at Berkeley.
Nahai is a frequent speaker and radio guest regarding real estate, energy, water, and climate change issues.
Nahai contributes opinion pieces regularly to publications such as the Los Angeles Times, the Los
Angeles Daily News, the Huffington Post, and the Jewish Journal.
Some of his publications include:
“Renewable Energy Leases on Tribal Lands: Enhanced Sovereignty and Increased
Responsibility” – Renewableenergyworld.com, May, 2013
“The Next Mayor’s Earth Agenda” – The Jewish Journal, April, 2013
“The Future of Water in Los Angeles: What the Israeli Experience Can Show Us” – The Jewish
Journal, July, 2012
“I Want My TLC: Attaining Transparency, Longevity, and Certainty in the California Renewables
Market” – Renewableenergyworld.com, May, 2012
“Attaining Stability in the California Renewables Market” – AltEnergy EMagazine, April, 2012
“The Global Water Crisis” – Huffington Post, September, 2011
“Climate Change: A Future of Less Water and More People – Strategies for a Water Constrained
World” - The Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System, August, 2011
“California’s SB X 1-2 Law Walks Renewable Energy Tightrope” – Renewableenegyworld.com,
“SB X 1-2 and California’s New Energy Future” - Altenergy EMagazine, April, 2011