Slattery recognized

During the association’s annual meeting on Wednesday Rio Grande Water Users Association Attorney Bill Paddock, right, presents a resolution recognizing James Slattery, left, who has served as engineer for the association for many years./Courier photo by Ruth Heide

ALAMOSA — The Rio Grande Water Users Association during its annual meeting on Wednesday recognized long-time engineer James “Jim” Slattery who has had to retire for health reasons.

Association Attorney Bill Paddock said Slattery has been a friend and colleague for many years. He said Slattery grew up on a farm near Fort Collins and knows firsthand how irrigation works and the importance of agriculture. He earned bachelor and masters degrees from Colorado State University.

Slattery is an expert on both surface and groundwater and has served as an expert in water court cases for the last 30 years.

Slattery has been an integral part of developing the Rio Grande Decision Support System groundwater model and making sure it operates as it is supposed to in replicating basin water functions, Paddock added.

“He is a man of integrity,” Paddock said. “Judges like to hear his testimony because he explains things in simple terms and they know he’s telling the truth, and they rely on his testimony.”

Chief District/Water Judge Pattie Swift relied heavily on Slattery’s testimony during the rules and regulations trial and in her subsequent judgment, Paddock said.

Paddock said Slattery’s health prevents him from continuing to serve as the association’s engineer, but it will take two or three people to replace his skills.

“He is a friend to farmers in the San Luis Valley,” Paddock read in a resolution recognizing Slattery. “He has worked hard to protect their interests in an honest and fair way.”