Paul Ortega was appointed to the board of the Desert Water Agency in 2020.
Since 2002, Paul has lived and worked in Palm Springs, embracing the desert environment with a deep commitment to water conservation. His relationship with the Agency began in 2005 when he co-founded the Desert Horticultural Society and served as its board president for 8 years. During that time, he worked with the Agency in support of programs to reduce water use in landscapes, and provide insight and advice on conservation programs within its service area. In addition to water conservation, Paul is committed to the Agency’s provision of safe and affordable water to the community that it serves. Paul also represents DWA on the Association of California Water Agencies – Region 9 Board, which guides regional water issues.
Paul received his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Stanford University and his Master of Arts in International Relations and Economics from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. Both programs allowed for him to continue his academic pursuits while studying in Italy. He is also a graduate of the initial class of the Water Counts Academy.
Prior to beginning his own landscape design firm, Paul worked as a member of the executive team for a major US retailer, as a business manager for a global telecommunications company, and as the CFO of an international business-to-business Internet firm. His move to the desert included a change in direction, pursuing a personal passion and making it a career.
In addition to Paul’s work with the Desert Horticultural Society, he has previously served as a member and chair of the City of Palm Springs Architectural Advisory Committee, and as a member of the Living Desert University Board as well as Modernism Week’s Events Committee. He also volunteers at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter.