Dennis B. Underwood, Commissioner,
Bureau of Reclamation, 1989-1993
Born in Vermont, Underwood graduated from Norwich University in 1966. Joined the California Department of Water Resources in 1960 and helped to update the State Water Plan. From 1966 1969, he served as a commissioned officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Thailand, achieving the rank of Captain. From 1978 to 1989, Underwood served as the Executive Director of the Colorado River Board of California. He worked extensively with the seven Basin States, the International Boundary and Water Commission, and various Federal agencies on developing and managing Colorado River water resources. After his swearing-in as Commissioner on November 14, 1989, Underwood sought Reclamation's shift from water project builder to water resources manager. During his term, Reclamation studied the potential of ground water recharge in 17 western states, produced a comprehensive water reuse initiative for Southern California, and released Reclamation's Strategic Plan for the next century.