2019 Annual Water Resources Conference Speakers

Opening Keynote Speaker

Brenda Burman

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. 

Closing Keynote Speaker

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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