James Eklund, a legal counselor to Gov. John Hickenlooper and former assistant state attorney general, has been named the new director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, according to a news release issued Thursday.

The 15-member board and the executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources named Eklund to the post.

A fifth-generation Coloradan, Eklund will lead state water policy and planning efforts, including establishing a statewide water plan, as outlined in a recent executive order from Hickenlooper.

As part of the governor's administration, Eklund has worked on legislative and legal matters pertaining to water, including state water rights and groundwater concerns in the South Platte River Basin.

While with the attorney general's office from 2006 to 2010, Eklund represented the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, the Water Conservation Board and the state engineer's office in compact negotiations with other Western states.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or rubinoj@dailycamera.com.