Guv’s nominee could be next water rights chief |

Guv’s nominee could be next water rights chief

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. has nominated Kent L. Jones as the new Utah state engineer and director of the Division of Water Rights. The nomination was sent to the state Senate for consideration. Jones will replace Jerry Olds in the post if it is approved.

"Water is one our monumentally important natural resources and is the key to our continued growth and success," Huntsman said in a prepared statement. "[Jones] has done a great job for the state and I am glad he will continue to serve in this critical capacity."

Jones has been responsible for reviewing all applications filed for water use in the state. His experience also includes directing the well drilling program, dam inspections and administering the stream channel alteration program.

"I am deeply honored to be considered for the position by Governor Huntsman," Jones said in a prepared statement. "I will strive to bring professionalism, patience and understanding that I have learned in conducting more than 2,000 water rights hearings around the state."

Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Mike Styler said "an exhaustive interview process" led to the selection of Jones.

"Kent has worked with water rights and water resources for 28 years, serving as assistant state engineer for the past 21 years, so the transition should be seamless," according to Styler.

Jones is a professional engineer who graduated from Utah State University in 1975 with a degree in civil and environmental engineering.

"Water is our most precious resource and careful adjudication of its use and ownership is crucial to the long-term viability of the state," Jones said.