Reagan Waskom, a 20-year veteran of Colorado State University and longtime member of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, has been named the director of the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute.
The institute, a fixture at Colorado State since 1965, provides a critical link between water researchers and water users and managers in Colorado. Waskom, previously associate director of the institute, has served as interim director since December.
"Colorado State plays a critical role in the economic growth, advancement and health of Colorado’s communities. Reagan’s expertise and skills working with public agencies will greatly benefit the institute and Colorado residents," said Lou Swanson, vice provost for Outreach and Strategic Partnerships, who oversees the water resources institute. "He is extremely knowledgeable about the challenges and priorities facing Colorado’s water future."
Congress and the state Legislature created the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute in 1964 to connect the water expertise of Colorado’s higher education system with the water education and research needs of Colorado’s water users and managers. The program is funded by Congress, Colorado State University and Colorado water management organizations.
Waskom is only the fifth director during the Institute’s 41-year existence. Robert Ward, who retired in December of 2005, had been director for 14 years.
Waskom is the Cooperative Extension Water Resource Specialist at Colorado State. He has worked in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences within the College of Agricultural Sciences since 1991 when he joined the department as the Extension Water Quality Coordinator. In this role, he worked closely with the Colorado Department of Agriculture and other state and federal agencies on water quality programs. Prior to that, he served as the research coordinator on the Tissue Culture for Crops Project at Colorado State University. Before joining Colorado State, he worked in private industry as a consultant and as a research scientist.
Waskom is the author of numerous articles on Colorado’s water resources and a regular contributor to "Colorado Water," a newsletter on water-related issues published by the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute. His broad research interests have included irrigation water optimization in water limited environments, evaluation of municipal water conservation programs, development of best management practices for crop production and evaluation of groundwater vulnerability and sensitivity to contamination.
"Colorado is at a critical juncture with its water resources, especially considering issues such as drought and meeting future water needs," Waskom said. "I look forward to working with state residents and agencies on the many challenges and opportunities ahead."
He obtained both his bachelor’s in agronomy and master’s in crop sciences from Texas A&M University and his doctoral degree in environmental sciences from Colorado State.
Each state and several territories have a Water Resources Research Institute. Each water institute is funded by Congress and located on a land-grant university campus.
Colorado’s institute is located in Room E-102 of the Engineering Building on Colorado State’s Fort Collins campus. Students are employed part-time in the office, often to prepare for careers as Colorado water managers.