Brenda Burman, Commissioner, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Don’t miss Brenda Burman’s presentation on Thursday, December 13th:

2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Commissioner's Perspective: Responding to Risk in the Colorado River Basin - Palace III
Brenda Burman, Commissioner, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

About Brenda Burman

Brenda BurmanOn November 16, 2017 the United States Senate confirmed the nomination of Brenda Burman as the 23rd Commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation. 

Burman has 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 for External and Intergovernmental Affairs 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 most recently, 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. 

About the Bureau of Reclamation

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 Western United States with 53 power plants.

Israeli and U.S. Water Technology: Versatile Solutions for Colorado River Challenges

What can we learn from the Israelis with respect to operating in an arid environment?

Check out colloquium on Wednesday, December 12:
2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Colloquium - Augustus I
Israeli and U.S. Water Technology: Versatile Solutions for Colorado River Challenges

Moderator: Sharon Megdal, Ph.D., Central Arizona Project Board Secretary and University of Arizona College of Agriculture

  • David Johnson, Deputy General Manager of Engineering and Operations, Las Vegas Valley Water District
  • Oded Distel, Head of New Tech Program, Israeli Ministry for the Economy
  • Abraham Tenney, Consultant and Retired Head of Desalination Division, Israel Water Authority
  • Tamar Shor, Chief Operating Officer, N-Drip and Former Deputy Director General, Israel Water Authority
  • Maureen Stapleton, General Manager, San Diego County Water Authority
  • Dan Thelander, Partner, Tempe Farming Co.

About Sharon Megdal

Sharon MegdalSharon B. Megdal was re-elected to the CAWCD Board of Directors by the voters of Pima County in November 2014. Her second term runs through December 2020. In February 2016, Director Megdal was elected CAWCD Board Secretary by her fellow directors. As Board Secretary, she chairs the Board’s standing Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District and Underground Storage Committee.

Dr. Megdal keeps very busy as Director of the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona (UA), where she holds the title C.W. and Modene Neely Endowed Professor. She is Professor, Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science, and Director of the UA Water, Environmental, and Energy Solutions Initiative, which is funded by the Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF). In 2010, Dr. Megdal was named Distinguished Outreach Professor by the UA. Her UA work focuses on water management and policy, on which she writes and frequently speaks. She places particular emphasis on how to achieve desired policy objectives in terms of institutional structures and possible changes to them and authors a water policy column for the WRRC’s quarterly newsletter. Dr. Megdal, who holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University, teaches the multi-disciplinary graduate course titled Arizona Water Policy and advises graduate students in multiple programs, including the MS in Water, Society, and Policy Program.

Dr. Megdal has served on numerous state boards and commissions, including the Arizona Corporation Commission, the Arizona State Transportation Board, and the Arizona Medical Board. She serves on the boards of the American Water Resources Association, the International Arid Lands Consortium, and the Universities Council on Water Resources, where she serves as President-Elect.

A View of the River

Make plans to attend the Colorado River Water Users Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas from December 12-14, 2018. You can register here. 

“A View of the River” is Colby Pellegrino’s topic on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 1:00 PM. She will detail the current state of the Colorado River from stem to stern.

Colby Pellegrino, Southern Nevada Water Authority

Colby Pellegrino

Ms. Pellegrino is the Director of Water Resources for the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), the agency responsible for the treatnent, delivery and management of the Southern Nevada’s water resources. The SNWA needs the daily water demands of 2 million resits and 40 million visitors.

Colby joined the SNWA in 2003 and was an instrumental part of the Water Resources Division where she supports Colorado River modeling efforts to anticipate changes cause by climate change, reduced flows and other inputs. In her current capacity, Colby is responsible for the management of the SNWA’;s water resource portfolio, which includes protect Nevada’s interests and rights to Colorado River water through interstate negotiations, developing regional conservation  programs, managing groundwater resources and water resource planning,

Colby is a native of Las Vegas, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Masters of Business Administration from Mississippi State University. An avid cook, hiker and outdoors enthusiast, she and her husband, Mark, have two children.

Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan

On Thursday, December 13, 2018, at the 2018 CRWUA Conference, there will be a panel discussion about the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan (LBDCP), moderated by John Fleck, University of New Mexico Director of Water Resources in the Department of Economics. Panel members include: Thomas Buschatzke, Director, Arizona Department of Water Resources;  Ted Cooke, General Manager, Central Arizona Project; John Entsminger, General Manager, Southern Nevada Water Authority; and, Peter Nelson, Director, Coachella Valley Water District and Chairman, Colorado River Board of California.

The Bureau of Reclamation expects a shortage declaration under the 2007 Shortage Sharing Agreement for Lake Mead in 2020. The LBDCP will set the reduction target guidelines for water providers in each of the Lower Basin states.

View the agenda.
Register for the Conference

John Fleck, University of New Mexico Water Resources Program
John Fleck is Professor of Practice in Water Policy and Governance and Director of the University of New Mexico Water Resources Program. Much of his career was spent in journalism, focused since the 1980s on the interface between science and political and policy processes, with special emphasis on climate and water in the southwestern United States. He was the Water Resource program’s writer-in-residence for three years before transitioning to academia full time in 2016. In the field of water resources, his primary interest is in nurturing the collaborative water governance needed to adapt to scarcity in the southwestern United States as populations grow while climate change reduces water supplies. That goal animates the Water Resources Program, where he and his colleagues work with graduate students who will become the region’s future water managers. In both the Water Resources Program and the Department of Economics, he also works on translational activities – helping make the technical work done in academia of maximum benefit to political and policy processes


  • Water is for Fighting Over: and Other Myths about Water in the West, Island Press, 2016
  • High-Tech Desert: The Great Decoupling of the West’s Water, Breakthrough Journal, Summer 2016
  • What Seven States Can Agree to Do: Deal-Making on the Colorado River, Stanford Rural West Initiative, August 2012
  • The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus, Bulletin of the American Meteorology Society, September 2008


  • Jfleck at Inkstain: A few thoughts from John Fleck, a writer of journalism and other things, living in New Mexico
  • Twitter

Climate Change Adaptation

Are you interested in Climate Change adaptation for your organization?
The CRWUA 2018 conference is the place to be December 12-14:

Climate adaptation

  • Jeanine Jones, Interstate Resources Manager, California Department of Water Resources
  • Laurna Katz, Chairwoman, Western Utility Climate Alliance
  • Muhammad Ahmud, Vice Chairman, Western Utility Climate Alliance

Here’s the link for the agenda.
Here’s the link for registration.

Laurna Kaatz, Denver Water
Laurna KaatzLaurna Kaatz is the climate science, policy, and adaptation program director for Denver Water. Her primary responsibility is to lead climate investigations and implement findings to inform planning, policy, and research. Laurna’s work incorporates many areas of water resource planning, including climate and drought planning, operational and water rights analysis, and long range integrated resource planning. As incoming Chair of the Water Utility Climate Alliance, lead practitioner of the Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty Society, and Past President of AWRA CO Section, Laurna is extensively engaged in climate preparedness and resilience. Before her career at Denver Water, Laurna was a Professor of Physics at Sweet Briar College, and then went on to work as a climate science researcher with Aurora Water. Laurna has a Master’s degree in physics and a Bachelor’s in physics and mathematics, and is currently working on her PhD.