Denver Water Board of Commissioners names James Lochhead to replace Chips Barry

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From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

Denver Water has reached across the Continental Divide to select Glenwood Springs attorney Jim Lochhead as its next manager and chief executive officer. He replaces Chips Barry, who will be retiring at the end of May after 20 years on the job. Lochhead’s hiring is another signal of increasing cooperation between Denver and the Western Slope over water issues, and it is being well-received by the Colorado River Water Conservation District. “It’s a tremendous selection on the part of the Denver Water board,” district spokesman Jim Pokrandt said…

Lochhead said, “I’m looking forward to kind of bringing that broader perspective to Denver Water and not only advocating for Denver Water but also hopefully bringing an understanding of the Western Slope and the state and the West and some of the issues and challenges that we face,” he said. He said today’s world is more interdependent, and it’s important to find ways for entities to work through a lot of common challenges. “Denver Water holds the key to a lot of that as the premier water utility in Colorado,” he said…

Gov. Bill Ritter praised Lochhead’s hiring in a news release. “In the West, water issues touch every part of our life and having a leader like Jim will benefit the whole state. Jim’s leadership and experience dealing with water issues makes him a perfect fit for this position,” Ritter said.

More coverage from the Vail Daily (Julie Sutor):

Lochhead is currently a lead shareholder at law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, where he has negotiated many complex transactions regarding water and other natural resources in the Rocky Mountain West. He has a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology and a law degree from the University of Colorado…

Denver Water obtains much of its water supply by pumping the precious resource from the Colorado River Basin across the Continental Divide to growing Front Range cities and suburbs. Those transbasin water diversions have often been a source of tension between West Slope and Front Range communities…

“By selecting a current West Slope resident to head its agency, Denver Water chose a leader who understands the statewide repercussions of Denver Water’s decisions. [Western Resource Advocates] looks forward to working with Mr. Lochhead as Denver Water continues to improve its conservation programs, water supply planning, and role as a leader to help resolve water issues statewide,” [Western Resource Advocates water program director Bart Miller] added.

More Denver Water coverage here.

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