The Sustainable Water Markets (SWM) Fellowship Program at the Bren School is hosting a Sustainable Water Markets Seminar, titled “Pulling Heads Out of the Sand: New Collaborations to Secure Water Resources in the Colorado River Basin“, presented by Eloise Kendy. Eloise is the Director of the Environmental Flows Program at the Nature Conservancy.
When: Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Where: Bren Hall Room 1414
Leslie Sanchez, Program Manager for SWM at Bren describes Eloise’s research: “Eloise Kendy leads a team of scientists and policy makers whose innovative work is helping to reform water management in the Colorado River Basin. With demand for freshwater resources frequently exceeding supply, Dr. Kendy’s research shows how maintaining environmental flows can benefit public health, ecosystems, and economies.”
The Colorado River and its tributaries in the U.S. and Mexico irrigate more than 5 million acres of farmland and provide water to more 36 million municipal residents. However, drought, over-allocation, and growth are challenging farmers, cities and river ecosystems, as water use continues to grow even as scarcity increases. Native fish and birds are in decline, while cities and farms struggle with reduced water supplies. In the ultimate testament to the demands put on the Colorado, the river no longer reaches the sea. As difficult as these challenges are, failing to work together will only exacerbate the situation. Now is the time for cities, businesses and agricultural and conservation communities to demonstrate how novel water management can reduce conflict, provide secure water supplies, and restore health to depleted rivers.
The Nature Conservancy is working with partners to bring innovation and flexibility to water management in the Colorado River basin. In tandem with cities, irrigation districts, businesses and other nonprofit organizations, as well as federal, state, and local water managers, we are devising new ways to store, allocate, and distribute water equitably so that all who need water can thrive. For example, Drought Contingency Planning in the upper basin, led by the states and the Upper Colorado River Commission, proposes to use reservoir re-operation and water demand management to help bolster the level of Lake Powell, a critical reservoir on the system. A parallel drought contingency planning process is underway in the lower basin. On the ground, we are starting to mobilize private and public funding to show how strategic investments in reservoir re-operation, irrigation efficiency, water leasing, groundwater recharge, and other alternatives to permanent cropland fallowing can benefit river flows, rural economies, and urban water users alike.
Read Eloise’s biography on the Bren website here.