News & Insights

Get insights and analysis from Water in the West researchers as well as the latest news about new Stanford water research and events focusing on western water issues.

September 29, 2015  | Water in the West  | Insights

Rob Jordan

A new report from Water in the West explores how Western states can increase water rights transfers to maintain healthy flows for ecosystems while benefiting water rights holders. “Environmental Water Rights Transfers: A Review of State Laws” is the product of a Stanford Law School practicum that Water in the West Executive Director Leon Szeptycki taught in partnership with the...

September 23, 2015  | Water in the West  | Insights

Jacqueline Peel

By Jacqueline Peel, Visiting Scholar, Water in the West Natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and wildfires are often thought of as “Acts of God.” However, the disaster management community increasingly recognizes that few disasters are purely “natural” in origin. For instance, land-use decisions that allow people to build (and rebuild) homes in floodplains contribute to flood damage; and...

September 17, 2015  | Water in the West  | Insights

Leon Szeptycki and Tara Moran

One year ago, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 into law. Commonly referred to as SGMA, the legislation created a statewide framework for sustainable groundwater management – and, potentially, regulation of groundwater pumping – for the first time in California’s history. The law does so by imposing a mandate for sustainable groundwater...

August 21, 2015  | Water in the West  | Insights

After three years of severe drought, the California legislature passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014, which creates a statewide framework for groundwater regulation. This legislation came into effect on January 1, 2015, and presents local water agencies with significant opportunities and challenges. Those challenges and potential solutions were the topic of a 2015 Uncommon...

August 21, 2015  | Water in the West  | Insights

Leslie Willoughby

Surface water managers are increasingly turning to “enhanced decision support tools," models that are specifically designed to resolve disputes and help reach consensus based decisions.   But similar technologies have only recently come into play for making effective groundwater decisions. A new grant will fund a study of the role that data and models play in...

August 20, 2015  | Water in the West  | Insights

Leslie Willoughby

What role can federal agencies play in fostering drought resilience? Water in the West outlined forward thinking strategies to prepare for, manage and respond to drought over the long haul during a recent interagency symposium held in Washington, D.C. The National Drought Resilience Partnership invited Stanford water law experts Barton “Buzz” Thompson and Leon Szeptycki ...

August 07, 2015  | Water in the West  | Insights

Leslie Willoughby

Challenges in the use of water continue to grow with changes in weather, climate and population. As guest editors of the journal Dædalus, Stanford Professors Anna Michalak and Chris Field frame these challenges within a context of the decisions they call for and the emerging opportunities they offer. The journal assembles related concepts from water experts, ...

July 09, 2015  | Stanford News Service  | News

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).

June 01, 2015  | Water in the West  | Insights

Janny Choy, Research Analyst, Water in the West

As California struggles through its fourth year of drought, it is worth remembering that other parts of the West are much drier than California and have been coping with water shortages for decades.  As the first state in the country to pass a comprehensive set of groundwater regulations in 1980, Arizona offers a potentially useful lens for its western neighbors managing increasing water...

May 19, 2015  | Stanford News Service  | News

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.