Christine Arbogast


Christine Arbogast is a native Coloradan, born in Pueblo and a graduate of Southern Colorado State College, now Colorado State University at Pueblo. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in both journalism and political science.

That educational focus has carried forward in Christine's professional life.  Following graduation, she was a reporter and editor in Canon City, Colorado, and then a news and feature writer for the Durango Herald in the southwestern corner of the state.  It was there that her interest in Native American issues and water resources began, and she was fortunate to be able to transfer that interest to a new career path in politics and government.

Christine began work with Congressman Ray Kogovsek in 1979, when he was elected to represent Colorado's sprawling Third District, which included nearly half of the state and reflected its diverse interests. She served as his press secretary and concentrated on legislative issues including Native American affairs, water, agriculture and local government. 

She remained in Washington until July of 1984, and returned to Colorado to work as a special projects administrator for the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture at the time the department was establishing its Always Buy Colorado program, now known as Colorado Proud.

In 1985, Christine returned to work for Ray Kogovsek, who had chosen not to run for re-election to Congress. Since then, the small firm has worked primarily in the Western states on resource and tribal issues as well as local government concerns, capital construction projects and public land use.

Leading NWRA
Serving as President of an organization I have belonged to since 1985 is really an honor, and also a challenge. It puts to the test my more than 40 years of work on Western water policy, development, delivery and conservation. I am grateful for the NWRA family's trust in me, and hope I am able to make a tangible difference in how decision-makers approach our unique water resource needs in the semi-arid West.

Christine is President and Chair of the Federal Affairs Committee of the National Water Resources Association and has received the President's Award from three different leaders of the organization. In 2016, the NWRA gave Christine the John F. Sullivan/G. Thomas Choules Award for one "whose service, promoting the regulatory/legislative/judicial agenda of the Association, was above and beyond that expected of a member of the leadership." This award has only been bestowed to five NWRA members. Christine serves on the board of directors of the Colorado Water Congress and serves on the policy/advocacy and federal affairs committees. In January, Christine was named the Aspinall Water Leader of the Year by the CWC, an award given to individuals who have demonstrated long-term commitment and contribution to the statewide water community. She is the third woman to receive the award in more than 40 years. Christine is also a member of the Colorado River Water Users' Association. She is the president of the Women in Water Scholarship Fund, a 501C3 which annually awards a $5,000 scholarship. Visit the WIW website Funding Women in Water

Women in Water prepares to award its third annual scholarship.

Women in Water group photo
My hope is that someday, when asked how she got into western water, a young woman will say 'Christine inspired me.'

"When I first "joined" the western water community in 1985, water leadership was provided by directors of water district boards, district general managers, and water lawyers. Nearly all were men." said Women in Water scholarship fund President, Christine Arbogast.

The face of the community has changed considerably since then. In all walks of the western water world, women are in high-profile, leadership positions which help influence the water policy so critical to the semi-arid West.

Tanya Trujillo has been confirmed as the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science in the Biden Administration.

Brenda Burman was the first female Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation and Camille Camlimlum Touton has been nominated to serve as her successor.

Cheryl Zittle of the Salt River Project was the first female president of the National Water Resources Association, and Christine Arbogast now serves as President.

April Snell is the executive director of the Oregon Water Resources Association.

Leslie James leads the Colorado River Electric Distributors' Association.

The Texas Water Conservation Association is led by Stacey Steinbach.

The nine-member Colorado Water Conservation Board has five female members, and its executive director is Becky Mitchell.

And the list of talented engineers, lawyers, governmental affairs directors, managers and board members goes on and on.

At the Colorado River Water Users' Association annual meeting in Las Vegas five years ago, Cheryl Zittle and Christine Arbogast decided over a glass of wine together to form Women in Water. Our first meeting was at the NWRA Federal Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. in early April of 2018 and subsequent meetings have led to the creation of the Women in Water Scholarship Fund. Visit the WIW website Funding Women in Water


Allison Britain, 2019 recipient. Allison's Essay                   Anna Bartholemew, 2020 recipient. Anna's essay

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