Volume 10 Issue 7 July/August

Looking Forward to 2026

By Kris Polly

The Colorado River remains top of mind for western water managers, and this month, we return to that important topic. In our cover story, we speak with Central Arizona Project General Manager and former Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation Brenda Burman, someone I am proud to call a good friend. Contributing Editor Jeff Kightlinger intervews Ms. Burman about the interim guidelines on the Colorado and the current efforts to hammer out a post‐2026 agreement.

Next, we speak with General Manager Zach Renstrom of the Washington County Water Conservancy District. Based in Utah’s Virgin River basin, the district is planning to supplement its water supply by piping in some of Utah’s allotment of Colorado River water.

We also interview Bronson Mack, the public outreach manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), about an important memorandum of understanding that 34 Colorado River–dependent agencies have signed onto so far, including major agencies such as SNWA and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The agreement seeks to reduce water use both indoors and outdoors to help save the river.

Also, we get an upper‐basin perspective in a conversation with Becky Mitchell, who as Colorado’s commissioner to the Upper Colorado River Commission is the state’s main negotiator on Colorado River issues.

Then, turning to the eastern United States, we feature the Yadkin Regional Water Supply Project, a major undertaking that will bring a new, sustainable water supply to North Carolina’s Union County. Union County Engineering Division Director John Shutak and Garney Project Manager Kyle Anderson tell us about the planning and execution of this impressive project.

We also speak with Ward Neesen, the chief technology officer at Watertronics, about the new WaterVision 2.0 cloud telemetry system, which can automatically and remotely control pump systems, help prepare reports, and adjust flow levels to optimize water system performance.

Last, we speak with Copper Labs CEO Dan Forman about the company’s interesting data collection devices, which help utilities improve water efficiency and can obviate the need to upgrade existing metering systems.

Heavy rain and snow in the West this year have given the Colorado basin a slight reprieve, but grave concerns remain regarding the river’s long‐term future. However, the ingenuity, resolve, and problem‐solving determination of the American people should not be underestimated. Our interviewees his month are great examples of those qualities, and because of professionals like them, I am optimistic about the future.

Kris Polly is the editor-in-chief of Municipal Water Leader magazine and the president and CEO of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He can be contacted at kris.polly@waterstrategies.com.