Eric Kuhn

Eric Kuhn is the former General Manager of the Colorado River District, a position he held for more than 20 years. He earned his BS in Engineering from the University of New Mexico and an MS in Business Administration from Pepperdine University. Early in his career, he worked as a Naval engineer officer aboard nuclear submarines and as a nuclear start-up engineer for Bechtel Power Corp.  After joining the Colorado River District in 1981 as Assistant Secretary-Engineer, he served on the Engineering Advisory Committee of the Upper Colorado River Compact Commission and the Colorado Water Conservation Board representing the Colorado River mainstem. Eric was appointed by Governor Bill Owens as an at-large representative on the Colorado Interbasin Compact Committee. Since retiring in 2018, Eric has written a book titled “Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River,” which is an alarming reminder of the high stakes in the management-and perils in the mismanagement-of water in the western United States.


Title: West-Slope Water Use, Trends, and Issues in the Age of Climate Change – Water use on Colorado’s Western Slope began in the late-1800s with the construction of numerous small ditches and reservoirs that served bottomlands by gravity. By the 1920s most of these lands were under cultivation. In the 1950s development accelerated because of the construction of large new transmountain diversions, federally subsidized irrigation projects, and large coal-fired power plants. By the mid-1980s, water use again plateaued, but dreams of new big projects remain.  Today, we understand that the warming climate is reducing the water available for all uses and the future of water use on the West Slope is uncertain.