I help clients manage water resources for long term ecological and economic sustainability in the face of drought and climate change. Key tools are legal entitlements, markets and physical solutions.
The need for sustainable water supplies reaches across sectors, from cities, towns and rural communities to industrial and agricultural water users. Sustainability is often promoted by environmental advocates and investors who wish to preserve financial and other assets. Groundwater and rivers basins are examples of common pool resources, and their management requires specialized methods that cross the disciplines of science, law, economic and politics.
I commonly work on sustainability initiatives related to groundwater and river basins across the United States. While solutions must be tailored to the circumstances of each basin, useful strategies often include:
- Defining property rights
- Determining the sustainable yield of a basin
- Ensuring efficient use of water through conservation and recycling
- Creating institutions for sustainable resource management, including financing mechanisms
- Developing infrastructure to manage and optimize resource yields
- Using multiple water supply sources conjunctively
- Developing new sources through importation or desalination
- Establishing markets for trading of water rights to promote greater efficiency.