David Nahai

H. David Nahai has an extensive record of success in both the private and public sectors, as a lawyer, CEO, government official, business owner, environmentalist, community leader, and published author.

Nahai is the former CEO and Commission President of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, former Chairman of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control, and former Senior Advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative.

Currently, Nahai is the President of David Nahai Consulting Services, a Partner at the Lewis Brisbois law firm, and a Managing Partner at Aqora Capital Management Company.

David Nahai Consulting Services advises and assists private and public entities involved in the environmental sector, with an emphasis on water, “green” real estate, infrastructure, renewable energy, and energy efficiency projects.

The Lewis Brisbois law firm is the largest law firm in Los Angeles with offices across the United States. Lewis Brisbois is a full-service firm. Nahai serves as co-Chair of the firm’s national real estate, energy, water, and environmental practice areas.

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 CEO. 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 groundbreaking 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 served for over 10 years on California’s Regional Water Quality Control Board, which safeguards the quality of surface, ground, and coastal waters in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, an area with over 11 million residents.

At the Water Quality Board, Nahai served with three different Governors. He was first appointed by Governor Pete Wilson, and re-appointed by both Governor Gray Davis and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nahai was elected to an unprecedented four terms as Chairman of the Board.

Nahai is credited with reinvigorating the effectiveness of the 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 three 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. In 1992, Nahai 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.

As a transactional real estate and environmental lawyer for 30 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.

Recently, Nahai’s new book “Commercial Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreements in California- a Beginner’s Guide” was published by Thompson-Reuters. 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, Heal the Bay, UCLA Luskin Center, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, and Climate Resolve. In addition, Nahai sits on a number of Advisory Boards for private sector companies. 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. In 2003, he received the Environmental Champion Award from the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters. In 2008, he was honored as an environmental leader by Heal the Bay. In 2008, he received the Outstanding Service Award from the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. In 2012, he was accorded the Political Leadership Award by the Sierra Club. In October, 2013, he was honored by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. He has been twice recognized for civic leadership.

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” –, 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” –, 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” –, June, 2011

“SB X 1-2 and California’s New Energy Future” – Altenergy EMagazine, April, 2011

Print Friendly, PDF & Email