The United States Senate has confirmed President Obama’s selection for Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. Having served as Principal Deputy Commissioner since October 8, 2014, with all of the responsibilities of Commissioner, Estevan López will now carry the title and formally take the helm of the 5500 person agency that manages water and generates power in the western United States. For the past 2 months as Principal Deputy Commissioner, López has immersed himself in Reclamation’s issues, met with stakeholders, become familiar with policy and personnel and is prepared to lead Reclamation into the future.
“I am deeply honored to be a part of the proud tradition of Reclamation and all of its accomplishments as we move into the future of the West,” said Commissioner López. “I am grateful to President Obama and Secretary Jewell for asking me to join this administration and I am very proud to lead this professional, knowledgeable and extraordinary team.”
“I am pleased the Senate confirmed Estevan López as the Bureau of Reclamation’s Commissioner. He is uniquely qualified to lead Reclamation, with a strong background in water management, dealing with drought and climate change issues,” said Secretary Sally Jewell.
López has 25 years of experience in the public sector including being appointed by Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, as the Director of the Interstate Stream Commission in January 2003. He was re-appointed to that position by Governor Susana Martinez in 2011. As Director of the ISC, López oversaw water management within New Mexico and negotiations with other states over interstate water matters. He represented New Mexico as the Governor’s Representative on Colorado River Compact matters and as Commissioner to the Upper Colorado River Compact and Canadian River Compact Commissions. While at the ISC, he also served as the Deputy State Engineer. Previous public sector positions included serving as County Manager and Land Use and Utility Department Director for Santa Fe County, and Public Utility Engineer for the New Mexico Public Utilities Commission. López also worked for several years in the private sector as an Engineer for ARCO Alaska, Inc.
A native New Mexican, he earned two Bachelor of Science degrees from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; one in chemistry and one in petroleum engineering. López is a registered Professional Engineer in New Mexico.
López and his wife Susana live in Peñasco, New Mexico. They have two grown children, Victoria and Juan, who attend college in New Mexico.
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 powerplants.