News & Press Releases

Follow the latest news about Water in the West and the latest about western water. 


Stanford researchers look to stormwater as a solution for semiarid regions

Stanford researchers and government agencies in drought-stricken California cities work to capture and use stormwater. The effort could ameliorate water shortages. Stormwater capture may also contain pollution before it contaminates beaches and leads to algal blooms that can poison fish. "These are billion-dollar problems," says Water in the West's Richard Luthy, the Silas H. Palmer Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford. "Meeting water needs in the future is going to depend a lot on how we reuse water and what we do with stormwater."

Published: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 Source: Stanford Report
5 fixes for California’s age-old water-rights system

"If you’re out shopping for water, it’s not like you can go to the commodity exchange in Chicago and simply buy water,” says Leon Szeptycki, executive director of Water in the West. “Barriers need to be removed.” Nevertheless, he warns that regulation must ensure water for impoverished communities . At the same time, government needs to protect the environment, ensuring that water sellers don't deplete surface water and thereby harm wildlife.

Published: Sunday, September 13, 2015 Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Less water might be plenty for California, experts say, and conservation is only the start

Demand grows for California water although the amount has been limited by rising temperatures and lack of precipitation. Managers and policy makers must choose the next steps toward the state's water future. Conservation and the construction of infrastructure such as dams are under consideration. "The reality is that there are so many soft paths that we can take that might have a lot less environmental impact and be a lot less expensive, and still meet our future demand," says Newsha Ajami, director of urban water policy at Water in the West.

Published: Sunday, September 6, 2015 Source: Los Angeles Times
Water management’s high-tech future

Technological advances in water management have been developed in response to California's drought. These advances affect how individuals use water, and how we collect data and measure water supply. "The drought has also raised public awareness regarding water scarcity, which plays a vital role in changing consumer behavior," said Newsha Ajami, director of urban water policy at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Published: Thursday, September 3, 2015 Source: Public Policy Institute of California
Concrete oasis

“No one ever expected that Las Vegas would be what it is today,” says Buzz Thompson, an environmental law expert at Stanford Law School. Yet, curiously, that limited supply may help to explain why Las Vegas is coping relatively well.

Published: Saturday, August 8, 2015 Source: The Economist
A once-flourishing pima cotton industry withers in an arid California

“The valley’s two groundwater basins are probably the most over-drafted here in California,” said Tara Moran, head of the Sustainable Groundwater division at Stanford University’s Water in the West program. “Ultimately, people will have to make a decision about what kind of farming California can sustain.”

Published: Friday, August 7, 2015 Source: New York Times
The future of groundwater in California

What is the future of groundwater in California? "Groundwater recharge is likely to play a large role in sustainable management of the resource," said Tara Moran, research associate with Water in the West.

Published: Monday, July 27, 2015 Source: California Academy of Sciences
California's missing water fell on Boston instead, as snow

"If I look at the key risks for New England going forward, based on the most recent climate change projections, I think risks from heavy rainfall — especially rainfall associated with hurricanes — profound risks,” says Chris Field, senior fellow with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Some wonder whether water could be moved to drought-stricken areas, but Dick Luthy of the Engineer Research Center for Urban Water Infrastructure at Stanford, says it takes a lot of energy to move substantial amounts of water across long distances.

Published: Monday, July 13, 2015 Source: WGBH
Stanford grant programs enable researchers to tackle major environmental challenges

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment jump-starts interdisciplinary projects around the world. Collaborative decision-making for a sustainable groundwater future to be studied by Janet Martinez (Law) and Rosemary Knight (Geophysics).

Published: Thursday, July 9, 2015 Source: Stanford News Service
A law professor explains California's 'arcane' water rights system

California water law is unique in the West and perhaps the world, explains Stanford law professor Buzz Thompson, Director of the Woods Institute for the Environment.

Published: Monday, July 6, 2015 Source: Take Two, 89.3 KPCC
Drought: history and future

Changes in the legal system could help address future drought. David M. Kennedy lays out history, Barton “Buzz” Thompson offers legal perspectives, and Noah Diffenbaugh considers climate change, with other panelists at Aspen Ideas Festival.

Published: Monday, June 29, 2015 Source: Aspen Ideas Festival
Who’s to blame during California drought? Basically everyone

If everyone’s to blame for the drought, then everyone can take part in responding. Newsha Ajami explains how.

Published: Thursday, June 18, 2015 Source: SFGate
Master-planned community at risk of losing all water within days

Fifteen thousand thirsty people seek new water source after California water board curtails water rights. Barton “Buzz” Thompson reveals who has the upper hand when water rights clash with public health and safety.

Published: Thursday, June 18, 2015 Source: Los Angeles Times
Stanford professor developing water usage model that could help California meet conservation goals

Stanford economist Frank Wolak is creating a customer-level water demand model that can be used to design tiered water rate schedules in drought-ridden California.

Published: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 Source: Stanford News Service
California Drought Threatens Even Oldest Water Rights

California's first come, first served, water-rights system is about to be tested. Prof Barton "Buzz" Thompson weighs in.

Published: Thursday, May 14, 2015 Source: MarketPlace