The Rising Young Star in California’s Water Politics

J.B. Hamby, a 27-year-old Stanford graduate, chairs the Colorado River Board of California.

PUBLISHED NOV 29, 2023 1:49 A.M.
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J.B. Hamby (inset) and the All-American Canal, which supplies water to the Imperial Valley.

J.B. Hamby (inset) and the All-American Canal, which supplies water to the Imperial Valley.   Everett Collection

Many Californians might not know the names of their local water district members or even people who help set water policy at the state or federal level. But these are important people, who often help shape decisions with significant financial impacts.

ProPublica has an in-depth and revealing profile about one such figure.

J.B. Hamby, 27, has risen in just a few years from Stanford graduate to two prominent positions in California water: chair of the Colorado River Board of California, which helps determine how water is apportioned from that waterway to multiple states; and vice president of Imperial Irrigation District board, which represents agricultural concerns that collectively use more water than the city of Las Vegas.

“I think he’s a wonderful kid," a former member of the state board said. "And he’s really smart and, for his age, he is extremely mature. I mean, this guy probably sat at the big people’s table when he was a teenager.”

It's an article worth reading for anyone who wants to understand more about the inner workings of California's water use and policies.

Read more of the article “The Future of the Colorado River Hinges on One Young Negotiator” on

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