2019 Annual Water Resources Conference Speakers

Opening Keynote

Brenda Burman
Commissioner
Bureau of Reclamation

On November 16, 2017, the United States Senate confirmed Brenda Burman as the 23rd Commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation. She is the first woman sworn in to lead Reclamation.

Burman has more than 25 years of experience working on western issues, with an emphasis on water and natural resources. She previously served in the Department of the Interior as Reclamation's Deputy Commissioner and as Interior's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science. Her career spans experience in Congress as legislative counsel for water and energy for Senator Jon Kyl to state agencies, including The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Salt River Project in Arizona. She was a judicial clerk for the Supreme Court of the state of Wyoming and the Superior Court of Coconino County in Arizona and worked as an attorney in private practice in Arizona. She began her career as a park ranger at Grand Canyon National Park.

Burman holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arizona College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College. She is licensed to practice law in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming.
The Bureau of Reclamation is a contemporary water management agency and the largest wholesale provider of water in the country. It brings water to more than 31 million people and provides one out of five Western farmers with irrigation water for farmland that produces much of the nation's produce. Reclamation is also the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the country.

Colorado River Panel Speakers

Bill Hasencamp
Manager of Colorado River Resources for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Bill Hasencamp is the Manager of Colorado River Resources for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, where he develops and manages water supply programs to augment Metropolitan’s Colorado River supplies.  He has been with Metropolitan for 18 years, negotiating transfer agreements with irrigations districts, exchange agreements, and funding new water supply projects which have doubled Metropolitan’s Colorado River water supplies since 2003.  Bill is one of California’s representatives to the Colorado River Salinity Control Forum. 

Bill’s hobbies include long distance bicycle touring, which led him on a three-month bicycle ride across the United States.

Taylor Hawes
Colorado River Program Director at the Nature Conservancy

Taylor serves as the Colorado River Program Director for The Nature Conservancy.  The Program’s goal is to conserve the freshwater biodiversity of the Colorado River Basin while also meeting community needs for water. She implements priority strategies and works with key stakeholders who are critical to conservation success across the Colorado River Basin. Taylor has worked on Colorado River issues for more than twenty-three years. She practiced water, local government, water quality, and land use law on Colorado’s Western Slope before joining the Conservancy. Taylor served as the co-chair of Reclamation’s Basin Study Environmental and Flows Workgroup, a Governor appointee to Colorado’s Inter-basin Compact Committee, and on the Murray-Darling Basin Balanced Water Fund Advisory Board in Australia as well as many related boards. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Taylor received a B.A. in political science from University of North Carolina and her Juris Doctorate degree from Vermont Law School.

Eric Millis
Director, Utah Division of Water Resources

Eric Millis is the director of the Utah Division of Water Resources and Utah’s interstate streams commissioner, the governor’s representative on Colorado River management issues and is Utah’s representative on the Upper Colorado River Commission. Eric has worked for the Division for 31 years serving in a number of positions beginning as an engineer in the Division’s Investigation Section assisting applicants to the Board of Water Resources build water development projects. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a registered professional engineer.


Amy Ostdiek
Deputy Section Chief, Interstate, Federal, and Water Information Section Colorado Water Conservation

Amy serves as the Deputy Section Chief of the Federal, Interstate, and Water Information Section at the Colorado Water Conservation Board. She is responsible for coordinating the Colorado River work of the Section. Recently, much of her work has focused on the Demand Management feasibility investigation, both within Colorado and in coordination with the other Upper Colorado River Basin states. Before joining CWCB, Amy was an Assistant Attorney General with the Colorado River Sub-Unit at the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Amy is originally from Scottsbluff, Nebraska. She received a B.A. in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and attended law school at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Closing Keynote

Eric Kuhn
General Manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, Retired

Eric Kuhn is the retired General Manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District and co-author with John Fleck of Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River, University of Arizona Press, Fall, 2019.

The Colorado River District is the largest and oldest of Colorado’s four conservation districts. It covers most of the Colorado River Basin within Colorado. Almost two thirds of the flow at Lee Ferry originates in or flows through the district. Eric started employment with the Colorado River District in 1981 as Assistant Secretary-Engineer. In 1996 he was appointed General Manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2018.

From 1994 through 2001, he served on the Colorado Water Conservation Board representing the Colorado River mainstem. In 2005, Eric was appointed by Governor Owens as an at-large representative on the Colorado Inter-basin Compact Committee, a position he held until 2018. He has served on the Engineering Advisory Committee of the Upper Colorado River Compact Commission since 1982.

Prior to working for the Colorado River District, he served as an engineer officer aboard nuclear submarines in the U.S. Navy and worked as a nuclear start-up engineer for Bechtel Power Corp. Eric has a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mew Mexico and a master’s degree from Pepperdine University.

Eric and John’s book, Science Be Dammed, is about Colorado River hydrology, what we knew, when we knew it, and how we used it to shape the over-allocation of the river under the 1922 compact, the other major provisions of the law-of-the-river, and the projects we have in place today.

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