Climate & Water Risk

First and foremost, climate change is water change – the combination of increasing temperatures and changed weather patterns will fundamentally change the movement of water and energy on our planet. Climate change is rapidly impacting the land, water, wildlife, communities and resources of the Western United States, and most climate modeling suggests that particularly in the semi-arid West, the speed and significance of those changes are only likely to increase.

Increasing temperatures, drought, water stress, and changed weather patterns, the transformation of Western landscapes and vegetation, growing wildfire risk, and other recent challenges are likely only a window into the future impacts of climate change in the West. These changes will inevitably drive economic and environmental disruption throughout the West, adding to the existing economic and environmental challenges facing Western communities, industries, and ecosystems. It is critical to both plan for those changes and to begin to identify and implement proactive,cooperative measures that will help our communities, landscapes, and wildlife adapt to the changes that are coming, while doing what we can to mitigate the broader climate crisis.

Representative Experience

  • Work with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and various state agencies and water providers to develop major elements of the Colorado River Basin study, a comprehensive,multi-stakeholder study of water supply, water demand, and climate- and demand-driven water risk on the Colorado River.
  • Representing nonprofit conservation organizations and municipal interests in the developmentof new reservoir management guidelines for the Colorado River to address drought and shortage risks, including the negotiation of the 2007 Shortage Guidelines,the 2019 Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan, and other key policy advances.
  • Work with major U.S. water agencies to develop and implement a pilot “system conservation” program to protect water reservoirs through cooperative agreements to conserve water on the Colorado River, andassist with the development of a supporting economic model to study the potential use of system conservation efforts to manage future climate risk.
  • Work with the International Boundary and Water Commission, the Department of Interior, state water agencies and major water providers, and other federal and state agencies on the development of four international agreements between the United States and Mexico that address binational water shortage risks;
  • Work with the Arizona Department of Water Resources, other major stakeholders, and theUniversity of Arizona to develop a comprehensive water supply and demand model for Central Arizona to assess future water supply needs and risks;
  • Representing a major municipal water provider with regard to water policy and strategy matters related to the Colorado River, the development of water portfolio enhancements and resiliency strategies to protect municipal water supplies from shortage risks, the allocation of water on the Central Arizona Project and the development and implementation of new water wheeling and exchange mechanisms,and other local water policy matters.
  • Advising The Nature Conservancy on the planning and operation of its seven-state and international Colorado River Program to promote conservation outcomes and sustainability in the Colorado River Basin.
  • Advising major non-profit foundations and NGOs on the development of regional mitigation and adaptation strategies and programs to manage climate risk.
  • Facilitating initial water settlement conversations among local stakeholders and federal and stateagencies to identify intersections between federal, local, environmental, and economic development water needs;