The urban water sector faces a suite of unique challenges that will only become more complicated with population growth, climate change and environmental and water quality concerns. Successful management of these urban water issues at a variety of scales requires a holistic understanding of infrastructure, green space, water quality, allocation, financing, pricing and tradeoffs. However, efficient water management in this sector is particularly limited by a lack of data and the rigidity of legacy institutional systems and governance structure. This lack of information and flexibility exacerbates existing water shortages, aging infrastructure and antiquated financial and management schemes. To fill these gaps, the Urban Water Policy and Innovation team conducts innovative research on big data, virtual and hard infrastructure, financing and management in the urban water sector and its interface with other sectors such as agriculture, industrial, energy and land-use sectors. The team works on novel solutions to enable the water sector’s shift into the 21st century. They develop modern governance, policy, finance, water pricing and market driven tools in an effort to improve the quality of information available to decision-makers working on water management at the local and regional scales.
April 26, 2021
An op-ed in Smart Water Magazine from Newsha Ajami outlines three transformation ideas to consider as communities rebound from the pandemic, address recent infrastructure failures and plan for the future.
In the Media
May 20, 2021
MIT Technology Review
Newsha Ajami comments on how regions must fundamentally rethink how they’re managing water.
May 10, 2021
The Mercury News
Newsha Ajami and Felicia Marcus comment on the state's role in water policy.