The Program on Water in the West is addressing the major challenges facing water systems in California, the rest of the western United States, and Australia. Our goal is to discover and recommend solutions for transforming water systems so that they are sustainable economically, ecologically, politically, and institutionally.
The program builds on Stanford’s strengths in interdisciplinary research, ability to convene diverse parties for open and constructive discussions on neutral ground, and our standing as an objective source of reliable information and analysis. After consulting with a wide array of key public and private decision makers throughout the West, Stanford faculty, researchers and students are focusing on key areas in which we have the greatest potential to help promote effective water reform:
Integrated Groundwater and Surface Water Management
We’re developing new technologies for groundwater monitoring, studying best practices for conjunctive management of groundwater and surface water and groundwater banking, and making recommendations for institutional and policy changes to ensure effective groundwater management. Our Comparative Groundwater Law and Policy Workshop is examining the best practices in law and policy for integrated groundwater management in the U.S. and Australia. The workshop is part of a broader Comparative Groundwater Law and Policy Program, sponsored by the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.
Performance Measurement and Information Systems for Sustainable Water Management
We’re researching the use of performance measurement systems and information technologies in western states and Australia to drive water management toward sustainability, making recommendations for the best metrics for managing groundwater, watersheds, and consumer water supplies, and prototyping dashboards that water managers can use to make better decisions.
Urban Water Management
We’re developing and testing new technologies for distributed, energy-efficient water recycling systems at multiple scales, from the new “green dorm” at Stanford to large municipal systems, and we’re studying and making recommendations for public education campaigns necessary to ensure understanding and acceptance of this important source of water for the future.
The Water in the West Program involves faculty, researchers, and students in law, economics, civil and environmental engineering, history, biology, business management, organizational behavior, computer science, data visualization and communication. We also regularly involve partners from government, business and nonprofit organizations, as well as other universities. Together we can solve the challenges facing the future of water in the West and the lessons we learn here can be put to use around the world.