HRWBA director stepping down

HRWBA director stepping down

HRWBA director stepping down

Someone new will be working to protect water rights along the Humboldt River Basin. Humboldt River Basin Water Authority (HRBWA) was formed in 1995 by Elko, Eureka, Lander, Humboldt and Pershing Counties. The five counties, which each depend on water from the Humboldt River Basin, have combined their efforts to protect that water source over the years. 

Dr. Mike Baughman, President of the consulting firm, Intertech Services Corporation, has served as executive director of all the HRBWA’s efforts from the beginning. Baughman submitted a letter Sept. 22 to let HRBWA executive committee members know they needed to start the search for a new executive director, as he would be retiring.

Executive Committee member JJ Goicoechea said, “22 years is a long time. The member counties are very appreciative of the work you have done for us.” That sentiment was echoed by HRBWA Chairman Bennie Hodges, who added, “It will be tough to replace you.”

Baughman offered to be part of the process of determining who will lead HRBWA’s efforts into the future. HRBWA asked Baughman to write a request for qualifications to be sent out to a wide list of individuals and entities. 

“I have a list of 70-plus  people interested in HRBWA,” said Baughman. “I’ll email them and ask them to dispense the RFQ (Request  for Qualifications) to all of their contacts.” Committee members were also asked to come up with additional ideas for making sure the RFQ cast a wide net.

Goicoechea noted that, in light of water issues throughout the west and especially along the Humboldt River Basin, the five counties need to continue their association. “We need to work on finding solutions; it’s not going to get any easier in the coming year,” said Goicoechea, “I think we’ll need an entity like this going forward.”

Hodges said the counties will have to continue to be committed to paying the yearly fees the HRBWA uses to pay an executive director, to pay for lobbying efforts, to protest water rights filings and move forward with the work of the Authority. Executive committee members from the counties expressed their belief that their counties will continue to want to participate.

Each county has three representatives on the HRBWA’s full board, with one of those three representatives being a member of each county’s commission. The 15-member board meets quarterly.

Hiring a new executive director is on a fast track since HRBWA has only one full board meeting scheduled before Baughman’s retirement. The executive Committee will talk by teleconference on Oct. 26 to go over the submitted statements of qualifications for executive director. Baughman will share his recommendation.

He said he will work with their choice for a new executive director so that person can “hit the water swimming.”