CARSON CITY — Last Friday, President Joe Biden nominated Nevada native Camille Touton, an experienced congressional water adviser, as the next commissioner of the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation. If confirmed, she becomes the central figure in water negotiations over the future of the Colorado River.
Drought, climate change, and demand have diminished the river that supplies 40 million people. As a result, the agency is likely to mandate water cuts for the first time in 2022.
Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and Mexico all depend on the river that flows from the Rocky Mountains directly into the Gulf of California.
Touton, a veteran congressional water policy adviser, served as an assistant secretary inside the Interior Department under the Obama administration. She would end up being the first Philippine American to lead the Reclamation Commissioner.
The agency is accountable for drinking water in 17 states and power in 13. It is the second-largest producer regarding hydropower in the USA. The agency deals with 491 dams plus 338 reservoirs, including Lake Mead plus Lake Powell — the two manmade lakes where the state of Colorado River water is usually stored.
Touton provides undergraduate degrees through the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in addition to a master’s degree in public planning from George Builder University in Las Vegas, where she lives with her husband and daughters.
When confirmed, Touton replaces Donald Trump appointee Brenda Burman, who left office on January 20, 2021.