Despite the obvious relationship between where and how people live and the water they need to do so, our institutions have been slow to encourage decision makers to think about land and water use together and to engage in a dialogue with affected publics about the consequences of those decisions. The dual pressures of population growth and climate change (along with impacts of energy production) are prompting a more urgent look at this connection.
Since 2007, the Center has played a prominent role in highlighting strategies to integrate land use and water arising throughout the country. The Center has published two widely distributed policy reports on this subject, as well as professional articles, op-eds aimed at a more general audience, and chapters in books. Center staff frequently are asked to speak to groups of land use planners, water mangers, and policy leaders on this subject. Senior Fellow Sarah Bates is pursuing these and related topics as a project team member of the Carpe Diem West network on climate change and water, including policy work focused on emerging headwaters partnerships between the Forest Service, nongovernmental organizations, and urban water suppliers.