2 seasoned officials appointed to direct state water policy
Two high-ranking state water officials have been promoted to the top leadership positions in their respective agencies.
Rebecca Mitchell, who was instrumental in creating Colorado’s Water Plan as a water supply planning section chief for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, recently was named its new director by the 15-member board that oversees the agency.
She replaces James Eklund, an attorney with family roots in the Collbran area who has taken a job in a law firm.
The water board, with its 45-member staff, provides policy direction on water issues and is the state’s most comprehensive water information resource. The CWCB under Eklund oversaw the execution of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s order to create the plan for meeting future water needs in the state, with Mitchell helping carry the water by working within the agency and with other entities and the public in developing the plan.
Meanwhile, Hickenlooper this week announced the appointment of Kevin Rein as the new state engineer and director of the 260-employee Colorado Division of Water Resources, also known as the State Engineer’s Office.
He replaces Dick Wolfe, who retired after 10 years in the position.
Rein has been deputy state engineer since 2008, and first joined the division a decade earlier.
The division administers Colorado’s water rights system, issues water well permits, represents the state in interstate water compact proceedings, monitors streamflow and water use, approves dam construction and repair, conducts dam safety inspections, and maintains numerous water information databases.
“The importance of water administration has never been more clear as we implement Colorado’s Water Plan,” Hickenlooper said in a news release. “Kevin’s experience and leadership will be crucial to our state’s long-term success in protecting this vital resource.”
Rein said in the release, “The Division of Water Resources boasts a team of committed individuals focused on administering the state’s water resources and serving the public, and I am honored by this leadership opportunity.”
Mitchell worked in the public and private sectors as a consulting engineer before joining the water board. She has also served as the water policy and issues coordinator within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources’ executive director’s office.
She said in a release, “Coloradans and our water communities are working like never before to solve our state’s challenges collaboratively.
The same kind of cooperation that led to Colorado’s Water Plan will fuel the long-running effort necessary to continue putting the plan into action. What a privilege to be part of this process.”