Commissioners appoint Beckley to Colorado River District board

Local business owner fills the shoes of Dave Merritt on river board

The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners has appointed Steve Beckley as its representative on the Colorado River District Board for a term to last three years. The board seat opened late last year after former river board President Dave Merritt resigned from the role after decades of work to keep water on the Western Slope.

Beckley, a local business owner, told the commissioners he was interested in representing Garfield County on the river board because he wants to help protect water rights in the region.

“I think that there is such a need in the future for western Colorado to take our water issues more seriously, and I’m a businessman who can help get the best for the West Slope,” he said. “This is the most valuable board for our county, and I think there are so many things that are going to happen over the next 20 years with water and usage, that it’s very important to have a good mind on the board to help weed through the issues.”

Beckley cited his business acumen and experience serving on numerous volunteer boards as benefits he will bring to the role. He added that the top issue he sees before the district at this time is balancing the current declining water supply with future increased needs.

“Our communities, businesses, ranchers and agriculture, everything we have in western Colorado requires water and our supplies are diminishing,” he said. “It’s going to be a real challenge to make sure those needs are met.”

Local engineer Dean Gordon also applied for the position. Beckley was appointed unanimously, 3-0.

“Thank you to the two gentlemen that were willing to visit with us, so we could get to know them a bit better,” said Commissioner Mike Samson. “I believe both are well-qualified, and it was a hard decision.”

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