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Funding Innovative, Multi-Use Water Projects

A new report by a team of researchers from Water in the West offers a framework to fund water projects based on lessons learned from the energy sector. "Our sophisticated water system is slowly reaching the end of its lifetime and is in need of renewed investment due to population growth, urbanization, climate change impacts, environmental degradation, aging infrastructure, and ever-increasing operation and maintenance costs," said report co-author Newsha Ajami, the director of urban water policy at Water in the West. "Tackling these modern challenges calls for new thinking and innovative, multipurpose infrastructure solutions." The new report also calls for significant investment, which is harder than ever to come by when traditional federal and state government funds are limited. In their report, Ajami and her co-authors identify financing tools and techniques from the electricity sector with potential to bridge the financing gap to next-generation water systems. More ...

Desalination and California's Water Future: Experts Meet to Discuss Knowledge Gaps and Ways Forward

In light of California's ongoing drought and growing water needs, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, through Water in the West and the Center for Ocean Solutions, collaborated with The Nature Conservancy and the Monterey Bay Aquarium to facilitate an "uncommon dialogue" on the potential impacts of ocean desalination on coastal and marine ecosystems. Over the course of two days, leading experts from academia, non-governmental organizations, private industry and government agencies gathered in Monterey to exchange information and promote open discussion about the best available science, technology and policy related to desalination.  More ...

Photo Credit: NBC News

Welcoming New Members of Our Team

We are excited to welcome three talented new postdoctoral scholars to Water in the West: Esther Conrad, Ben Bryant, and Sibyl Diver. Since arriving in September of 2015, Esther, who is also with Stanford Law School’s Gould Center for Conflict Resolution, has jumped right into two timely studies: one examining groundwater adjudications and other local groundwater management arrangements in California, and another looking at factors that influence collective learning among stakeholders involved in forming new governance structures under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). 
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In The News


Once Famous For Beer, Milwaukee Now Bets On Water

Marketplace | January 26, 2016
Milwaukee is developing a large cluster of companies devoted to solving the world's water woes. Some dream of a "Silicon Valley of Water." Leon Szeptycki, executive director of Stanford University's Water in the West program, said water has yet to attract that level of money, and discusses how the cheap price of water hinders incentives for investment in water innovation.

Full Story …

California Drought: How Will We Know When It's Over? 

San Jose Mercury News | January 1st, 2016
How will we know when the drought is over? The answer, water experts say, is more complicated than you'd think.

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Storm Water, Long a Nuisance, May Be a Parched California's Salvation

The New York Times | February 19, 2015
Engineering professor Dick Luthy states that the view has changed from seeing storm water as a problem to seeing storm water as an opportunity.  By capturing storm water, we can take advantage of a local water source to augment our urban water supply and become less dependent on imported water.  It means we could have great resilience against droughts.

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Calif. Scrambles to Count Every Drop of Water

E&E News | December 9th, 2015
Buzz Thompson, a Stanford Law School professor and co-author of the report, said that bringing all water rights holders under the authority of the water board shouldn't be controversial because it wouldn't technically change the value of the pre-1914 holders' water rights -- meaning they would still have access to the same amount of water. The major difference would be that disputes and enforcement would be administered by the water board instead of courts.

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In Print


Improving the Federal Response to Western Drought: Five Areas for Reform

This report, co-authored by Leon Szeptycki, proposes five pragmatic, near-term reforms that would enhance existing federal capacities and help western states better manage drought.

Read the report …

Tapping Into Alternative Ways To Fund Innovative And Multi-purpose Water Projects: A Financing Framework From The Electricity Sector

A new report by a team of researchers from Water in the West offers a framework to fund water projects based on lessons learned from the energy sector.

Read the paper …


On the Road

Woods Researchers on Water future
January 22th, 2016
Woods researchers, Newsha Ajami, Buzz Thompson and Noah Diffenbaugh, testify on water reuse, climate change effects and water innovation at hearings of California’s Select Committee on Water Consumption and Alternative Sources.

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White House Roundtable on Water Innovation
December 16th, 2015
On December 15, the White House convened nearly 100 water experts from across the nation for a "Roundtable on Water Innovation" to discuss solutions to repair and upgrade the nation's aging water infrastructure. Newsha Ajami, director of urban water policy at Water in the West, spoke on a panel on using technology as a solution to the nation's water problems.

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Buzz Thompson Speaks to Legislators in DC about the California Drought 
In December, Stanford Woods Institute Co-Director and Senior Fellow Buzz Thompson went to Washington, D.C. to speak to policymakers about water management and the California drought. On December 1st, Thompson spoke at the Congress On Sustaining Western Water where water experts from across the nation assessed the challenges of managing scarce water resources within the economic and regulatory framework of the western states. On December 2nd, Thompson presented on innovation in the water sector on a congressional discussion panel at the US Capitol Visitors Center.

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What We Are Reading

Measuring Resource Tradeoffs In Times Of Drought
The Stanford Report | January 14th, 2016
A new computer model developed by Debra Perrone, a postdoctoral scholar with Water in the West, can be used by resource managers around the world to weigh food and energy tradeoffs when water is scarce.

Serious Forum Needed for Delta Solution
Sacramento Bee | December 26, 2015
Stanford's David Hayes discusses two key elements needed to balance environmental and water supply needs in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Researchers Test a Possible Drought Solution by Flooding an Almond Farm
Los Angeles Times | January 20, 2016
An experiment run by UC Davis that could offer a partial solution to California's perennial water shortages, and in the process, challenge some long-standing tenets of flood control and farming in the Central Valley.

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Water in the West

A program of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Bill Lane Center for the American West

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