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Nevada official to lead US-Mexico water treaty

The Trump administration selected a top Nevada water and power official to lead the International Boundary and Water Commission for the United States and Mexico.

The White House on Friday announced plans to appoint Jayne Harkins, executive director of the Colorado River Commission of Nevada, to head the U.S. side of the cross-border treaty organization.

Harkins said she was recommended for the post by Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.; Dean Heller, R-Nev.; Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; and John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

The International Boundary and Water Commission regulates such thorny issues as the location of the border and the allocation of water in the Colorado and Rio Grande rivers. The commission also oversees flood control, sanitation and other water quality issues impacting the two nations.

“It’s important. All the work is very important,” Harkins said. “I think I have the background to help with those disputes.”

Harkins has held the top job at the state agency responsible for managing Nevada’s water and power resources from the Colorado River since 2011. During that time, she participated in international talks that led to a series of agreements over Mexico’s use and conservation of water from the Colorado.

Before that, the registered professional engineer spent 27 years with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, where she eventually served as deputy director of that agency’s Lower Colorado River Region.

Harkins said her appointment is expected to become official in a few weeks, after which she will report for work at the boundary and water commission’s U.S. headquarters in El Paso, Texas. The Mexican section of the commission is located in the neighboring city of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Harkins said.

The seven-member Colorado River Commission will select Harkins’ replacement.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

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