PENDLETON — A new state water boss is coming to town.

The Oregon Water Resources Department announced the hiring of Chris Kowitz as the North Central Region manager. He will work out of the office at 116 S.E. Dorion Ave., Pendleton. Kowitz replaces Mike Ladd, who retired this year after 44 years with the department.

“I look forward to introducing myself to the community and collaborating on water supply solutions," Kowitz said in the announcement.

He will oversee the work of field staff who measure and distribute water and inspect wells in the Umatilla, Lower John Day, Lower Deschutes and Hood River basins, which primarily span Umatilla, Gilliam, Sherman, Wasco, and Hood River counties.

Kowitz held positions as a water resources coordinator and water management and conservation analyst with the department and also worked for the Oregon Department of Transportation. Kowitz graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science.

Ivan Gall, Water Resources field services division administrator, said the position of region manager continues to evolve as the department manages water needs while preparing for future water challenges, and Kowitz "is well-equipped to take on such responsibility."

Kowitz is available via email at or phone at 541-278-5456.

The Oregon Water Resources Department is the state agency that oversees the allocation and distribution of water in Oregon. The department’s field division measures streamflows, inspects wells, distributes water according to water rights on record with the department and provides the public with technical assistance on water rights and water laws. For more information, visit the department’s website at

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