Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Announces Leadership Changes

Promotions of veteran water leaders will build on past success and ensure smooth transition

Metro Atlanta, GA – Long-time water planning and engineering leader Danny Johnson has been promoted to the position of Managing Director of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) Natural Resources Department and Director of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (District), which is staffed by ARC personnel. He replaces former District Director Katherine Zitsch who was promoted to the position of ARC Deputy Chief Operating Officer in June.

Johnson has more than 20 years of leadership experience in water resources engineering and planning. For the past 10 years, he has led the collaborative process for updating the region’s five-year Water Resources Management Plan, including wastewater planning initiatives and technical assistance for government and utility partners located in 15 counties and 96 cities across the metro Atlanta area. Under Johnson’s leadership, the District also completed its first-ever Utility Climate Resiliency Study. In his new role, Johnson will oversee programs that include strategic planning for our region’s natural resources, Chattahoochee River corridor protection, climate and sustainability initiatives, and smart growth and low-impact development.

“Danny has the experience and in-depth knowledge of our region and its natural resources to lead this critical department,” said Anna Roach, Executive Director and CEO of the Atlanta Regional Commission. “We are excited for Danny’s leadership and confident he will continue to guide our region as a national leader in water resources management,” Roach added. 

Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering with an emphasis in Natural Resources Management from the University of Georgia and is a registered Professional Engineer. 

“I’m excited for the opportunity to continue serving our region in a new role alongside outstanding partners and staff. Together, we are working diligently to manage and protect our vital water resources for residents today and well into the future,” said Johnson.

Filling Johnson’s former role, Sarah Skinner has been promoted to Planning Administrator and Manager of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District to oversee the planning, budget, and public communications for the District. She will also serve as the project manager for the development of the next five-year Water Resources Management Plan and facilitate communications with the District’s Board of Directors and Technical Coordinating Committee with representatives from across the region. 

Skinner has worked in many capacities for the District over her 12 years at ARC, most recently as the District’s Public Education and Outreach lead which she will continue to manage. Throughout her time at ARC, she has developed a broad network of partners and associates in the water industry which has grown in part due to her extensive involvement in professional organizations where she supports the work of the District. 

One of Skinner’s most recent accomplishments includes her program and relationship development with Georgia Public Broadcasting that has engaged more than 120,000 students and teachers over the last two years to share Georgia’s Water Story and highlight career opportunities in the water industry. The program has been one of the most successful outreach events in the history of ARC.

“Sarah’s creative thinking, relationship building, program execution, and positive approach to planning are tremendous assets as she expands her District leadership role,” Johnson added.  “Our team looks forward to building on this past success to promote the importance of regional water stewardship and infrastructure investment.” 

ARC will soon be seeking candidates to fill the following other District positions: 

  • Stormwater planner and technical assistance program coordinator
  • Wastewater policy planner

For a list of current job openings, visit:




Since its creation in 2001, the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (Metro Water District) has implemented one of the most comprehensive regional water management plans in the country. It is staffed by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and includes 15 counties and 96 cities. It is the only major metropolitan area in the country with more than 100 jurisdictions implementing a long-term comprehensive water management program that is required and enforced. Learn more at: