Reclamation mourns the loss of former Commissioner Dennis Underwood

Media Contact: Kip White, (202) 513-0684

For Release: November 03, 2005

Dennis Underwood, former Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation has died following a long battle with cancer. He was 60 years old. Underwood served as Reclamation Commissioner from 1989-1993 and most recently served as the chief executive officer and general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

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. During his tenure as commissioner 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.

Reclamation Commissioner John Keys said today that the water world has suffered a great loss. "Dennis was a true friend and a great leader. I'm very proud to follow Dennis as Reclamation's Commissioner. I'm honored to call Dennis a friend and a colleague, and I credit Dennis with creating an atmosphere where people can find creative solutions rather than seeking out new ways to do battle. While there are lots of issues and disputes and concerns on the Colorado River today, one thing that I'm sure everyone can agree on is that Dennis Underwood was one of the great leaders in the modern history of the Colorado River."

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.