Bill Plummer is an engineer who worked for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, was the Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources and General Manager of the Yuma Irrigation and Drainage District.

Bill Plummer: Working in water since 1960

(The story below is built around a recorded interview)

As a newly graduated civil engineer, Bill Plummer accepted a job with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), so he left his home in Vermont and headed to Boulder City, Nevada.

“I knew if there was a hell, I was in it, because it was late June and it was hot,” said Plummer.

But after a few days working outside and helping people, he said he became a desert rat and never looked back. And it’s a good thing, because his next stop was Yuma, where he worked on potential pipelines from Yuma Valley to north of the river, started work on Senator Wash, put in tile drains in the Wellton-Mohawk and built levees.

His career took him east to Washington, D.C., where he worked in the Office of Management and Budget and for the Department of the Interior.

“There were a lot of different issues that came up and a lot of them dealt with Central Arizona Project,” said Plummer. “For example, I personally hand carried and staffed the Master Repayment Contract that was signed in 1972.”

By 1974, Plummer rejoined BOR and headed west, spending time in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska,Kansas and Utah. From 1978-81 he was responsible for all BOR activities in the Upper Basin and from 1981-85 he was responsible for all BOR activities in the Lower Basin.

Plummer was selected by Rose Mofford in 1988 to head the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Following that, he worked as the General Manager of the Yuma Irrigation and Drainage District.

So after more than 50 years working in water, Plummer’s impact in Arizona water is undeniable. In fact, a colleague of Plummer said, “His managerial skills were recognized as instrumental in re-establishing and maintaining the construction schedule of the entire Central Arizona Project.”

Read Bill Plummer's Oral History Transcript
Listen to Bill Plummer's Interview