March 07, 2013 | Water in the West | Insights
Welcome to our new website for Water in the West at Stanford University! The site is the result of a partnership between the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Bill Lane Center for the American West. Please look around this site to learn more about how we are engaging in research and dialogues to help achieve a future of sustainable water management for the American West.
There is no resource more important to the past, present and future of the American West than freshwater. Most Westerners understand water from a utilitarian perspective, but they also deeply value its social, ecological and aesthetic importance to the region. With ever-increasing competition for limited resources and emerging threats of a growing population, collapsing ecosystems, crumbling infrastructure, transitioning economies, and a less predictable and more volatile climate, we are in dire need of a new vision for the future of water management.
Academia plays an important role in shaping that future by looking forward, beyond the constraints and limitations of resource managers and elected officials. To define and articulate a new vision for the future of western water management, the faculty, researchers and students at Stanford are creating and demonstrating cutting-edge tools and technologies, quantifying and evaluating barriers and opportunities, convening diverse stakeholders in dialogues, designing clear and compelling communications, and training the next generation of leaders.
For example, we are collaborating with partners in Australia, comparing and analyzing the laws, policies and practices of each state that govern groundwater to facilitate the transfer of the best ideas and approaches. We are also delving into the many intersections and associated management challenges of the water-energy nexus that will ultimately reduce energy’s impacts on water and water’s reliance upon energy. Of course, one of the greatest challenges facing the water sector is moving innovation from concept to implementation. The so-called “valley of death” consumes many ideas that appear promising as models or lab tests, but are unproven at a sufficient scale. Water in the West is bridging that valley by engaging in research and experimentation in the areas of wastewater treatment and water recycling, groundwater mapping and monitoring, and dam management and operation, at a scale that will give confidence to those making decisions about adoption of new technologies.
Reaching a broader audience is fundamental to the mission of Water in the West. This page, the Western Water Forum, is our blog, which is dedicated to commenting on current events, communicating our latest research in plain language, and bridging the divide between academia, practitioners and policymakers. Authors will include faculty, visiting scholars, staff and students from Water in the West, as well as the occasional guest. We hope that you will come back regularly to learn about what we’re up to and make suggestions and recommendations about our future direction.
Stay tuned for much more to come!