Tom Cech of Central Water resigns
Tom Cech, executive director of the Central Water Conservancy District since July 1982, has resigned effective March 31.
Cech, however, will remain involved in water issues, working with the Colorado Water Conservation Board on its 75th anniversary celebration, as well as teaching water classes at the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado State University. He has also authored books on water in Colorado and plans to continue that venture and work with CSU on water research.
“I’ve enjoyed working with the board, the staff and our constituents over the years, but it’s just time to move on to other things,” Cech said. Central’s 12-member board, he added, has been aware of his intentions for several months and has appointed Randy Ray, the district’s assistant manager, as the interim executive director. The district has about 15 employees.
The board, Cech added, plans to conduct a national search for his replacement and at some point in the next few months will decide if it wants to hire from that search or look internally for a replacement.
The district, headquartered in Greeley, was formed in 1965 to develop, manage and protect water resources in northeast Colorado. It has grown substantially over the years and now provides water augmentation – water replacement – for more than 1,100 irrigation wells mainly along the South Platte River from Brighton, through Weld County and into Morgan County. A groundwater management subdistrict was added in 1973, and the well augmentation subdistrict was created in 2004.
Cech has taught Monday evening classes at CSU for the past three years and continues to teach a class online. He also teaches an online class at UNC for teachers interested in water education. Over the years, Cech estimates he has had more than 100 students at CSU and 75 teachers who have taken his classes.
“I’m really proud of the water education program we have developed here at the district over the years. That includes the Children’s Water Festival that is in its 20th year this year, which makes it the oldest festival of its kind for children in the state,” Cech said.
This year’s festival, set for April 27, will move to Island Grove Regional Park after being presented at Aims Community College since its inception.
Cech said the district has faced several challenges over the years, particularly with the drought year of 2002, which was a factor in the state closing down or limiting several thousand irrigation wells along the South Platte. Those challenges, he said, will not change.
“Managing water resources is getting more difficult every year,” he said.
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