Colorado River District; General Manager (retired)
Contact InformationPhone: 970-379-7314
Research Interests & Background
Eric Kuhn is the retired General Manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District and co-author with John Fleck of Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River, University of Arizona Press, 2019.
The Colorado River District is the largest and oldest of Colorado’s four conservation districts. It covers most of the Colorado River Basin within Colorado. Almost two thirds of the flow at Lee Ferry originates in or flows through the district. Eric started employment with the Colorado River District in 1981 as Assistant Secretary-Engineer. In 1996 he was appointed General Manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2018.
From 1994 through 2001, he served on the Colorado Water Conservation Board representing the Colorado River mainstem. Eric served as an at-large representative on the Colorado Inter-basin Compact Committee, from 2005 – 2018. He also served on the Engineering Advisory Committee of the Upper Colorado River Compact Commission from 1982 -2019. Prior to working for the Colorado River District, he served as an engineer officer aboard nuclear submarines in the U.S. Navy and worked as a nuclear start-up engineer for Bechtel Power Corp. In addition to Science Be Dammed, a book about Colorado River hydrology and politics, Eric has authored or coauthored numerous other articles and papers about the Colorado River.
Research Interests: How climate change is impacting the operation of the major Colorado River system reservoirs and the rules and laws that govern Colorado River water use. How our understanding of the hydrology of the Colorado River has evolved with the law of the river.
Selected Colorado River Publications & Presentations
The Upper Basin, Lower Basin, and Mexico: Coexisting on the Post-2026 Colorado River (June 19,2019), Science Be Dammed Working Paper Number 2, Kuhn, Eric and Fleck, John, posted on SSRN.
The Evolution of Our Understanding of the Natural Flow of the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry and its Importance to Critical Development Decisions (August 17, 2019), Science Be Dammed Working Paper Number 1, Eric Kuhn, John Fleck, Brad Udall, and David Kanzer–PE, posted on SSRN.
“The Consequences of the Compact Remains with Us”: Challenges and Opportunities for the Colorado River Upper Basin (April 26, 2022). Science Be Dammed Working Paper Number 3,Kuhn, Eric and Fleck, John, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4094375 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4094375
Evaluating the Accuracy of Reclamation’s 24-Month Study Lake Powell Projections, Jian Wang, Brad Udall, Eric Kuhn, Kevin Wheeler, and John C. Schmidt, White Paper Number 7, The Future of the Colorado River Project, Center for Colorado River Studies, Quinney College of Natural Resources, Utah State University, February 2022.
Alternative Management Paradigms for the Future of the Colorado and Green Rivers, Kevin Wheeler, Eric Kuhn, Lindsey Bruckerhoff, Brad Udall, Jian Wang, Lael Gilbert, Sara Goeking, Alan Kasprak, Bryce Mihalevich, Bethany Neilson, Homa Salehabadi and John C. Schmidt, White Paper Number 6, The Future of the Colorado River Project, Center for Colorado River Studies, Quinney College of Natural Resources, Utah State University, January 2021.
The Future Hydrology of the Colorado River Basin, Homa Salehabadi, David Tarboton, Eric Kuhn, Brad Udall, Kevin Wheeler, David Rosenberg, Sara Goeking, and John C. Schmidt, White Paper Number 6, The Future of the Colorado River Project, Center for Colorado River Studies, Quinney College of Natural Resources, Utah State University, August 2020.
Future Scenarios for the Colorado River, presented to the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and resources, 23rd Annual Water Conference, San Diego, CA, February 24-25, 2005.
Avoiding the First Compact “Tripwire”, presented at the 42nd Annual Colorado Law Conference on Natural Resources, University of Colorado Law School, Boulder, Colorado, June 16, 2022.
Colorado River Water Supplies; Back to the Future, Southwest Hydrology, Volume 4/number 2, March/April 2005.
The Colorado River: The Story of a Quest for Certainty on a Diminishing River, Copyrighted and made available on the Colorado River Water Conservation District website, www.ColoradoRiverDistrict.org May 8, 2008.
Risk Management Strategies for the Upper Colorado River Basin, Copyrighted and made available on the Colorado River Water Conservation District website, www.ColoradoRiverDistrict.org January 2, 2012.