A Colorado River Veteran Moves Upstream and Plunges into the Drought-Stressed River’s Mounting Woes

Chuck Cullom is used to responding to myriad challenges that arise on the Colorado River. But this summer problems on the drought-stressed river are piling up at a dizzying pace: Reservoirs plummeting to record low levels, question of whether Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon Dam can continue to release water and produce hydropower and unprecedented water cuts. As executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, Cullom brings an unusual perspective to the growing list of challenges. Cullom spent the last two decades viewing issues on the river through a Lower Basin lens, managing drought strategies and mitigation plans for the Central Arizona Project. Now, in his first year at the commission, Cullom has the chance to use his dual-basin perspective to help the seven states and 30 federally recognized tribes hash out ways to address the river’s issues.