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Underwood took a medical leave of absence in late October and designated Debra C. Man as acting CEO and general manager. She will continue in that role while the MWD board considers Underwood’s successor, the district said. Underwood is survived by his wife, Carmen; daughter and son-in-law Michelle and Ryan Dejournett of California; five brothers, Russell and Lawrence of Massachusetts, Rory of Vermont, Kevin of Maine, and Jeffrey of New Hampshire; and two grandsons. Funeral arrangements were incomplete, Muir said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “That meant that every cause and every project he was involved in was tempered by clear, well-negotiated and respectful interaction with everyone on both sides of the table.” Underwood became the district’s general manager and chief executive officer after playing a key role in a crucial effort regarding California’s share of Colorado River supplies as well as negotiating one of the nation’s largest habitat-conservation programs. The program covered 27 species along more than 450 miles of the lower Colorado. The 50-year program protects the storage, release and diversion of Colorado River water from Lake Mead to the Mexico border from interruptions because of endangered species issues. “As a former commissioner of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation and a major architect of the Lower Colorado River Multispecies Conservation Plan, Dennis was a creative and dynamic force in improving the management of Western water and promoting environmental protection and enhancement,” Interior Secretary Gale Norton said in a statement. Bannister said the Metropolitan Water District would have to “work hard to maintain the spirit of his career and to honor him by moving forward thoughtfully and with purpose, being mindful of our role as a steward for the public and the environment.” RANCHO CUCAMONGA – Dennis B. Underwood, a Western water expert and former U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioner who this year took over as general manager of the giant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, has died. He was 60. Underwood, who was selected in April to lead the water district, died Wednesday at his Alta Loma home after a battle with cancer, MWD spokesman Bob Muir said Thursday. The Metropolitan Water District is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 18 million people in six Southern California counties. It imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies. “The water world has lost one of its most accomplished and humble leaders,” district board Chairman Wes Bannister said in a statement. “The underlying theme of Dennis’ entire career was to balance needs with grace.