Institute Applauds U.N. Water Decade,
But Offers Cautions

On World Water Day (March 22), the
United Nations inaugurated the “International Decade for
Action” as part of their Water for Life campaign. The Pacific
Institute applauds the UN’s focus on solutions and we hope that
this new effort will bring badly needed energy to the global water
crisis, which by our
may kill 34-76 million people over the next 20 years.

Despite this new campaign, we remain
concerned that the world community is giving scant aid: assistance
for water supply and sanitation from industrialized nations and
major international financial institutions is only around $3 billion
a year. This should be increased to $20-$30 billion per year for
the next ten years. But money alone won’t solve the crisis. Along
with more aid, we must redouble efforts to create community-scale
infrastructure, to include stakeholders in the planning process,
and to ensure that centralized projects, if they are needed, are
built in the most environmentally and socially responsible manner.

More information on the United Nation’s
Water for Life campaign can be found online.

Wolff Appointed to Regional Water
Control Board

Dr. Gary Wolff, the Pacific Institute’s
Principal Economist and Engineer, has been appointed to the California
Regional Water Quality Control Board, representing the San Francisco
Bay Region, which is responsible for protecting ground and surface
water in the area. “I’m honored and excited to have been
appointed to the Board,” Dr. Wolff said. “And I’m looking
forward to working with other Board members and staff to craft
policy solutions that are good for the environment and our local

More information about the board can
be found online.

Media Matters: Dozens of Outlets Quote
Institute Staff in First Quarter of 2005

During the first 3 months of
2005, Pacific Institute staff were quoted in over two-dozen different
articles published in media outlets from Germany’s Stern Magazine
to the San Francisco Chronicle and National Public Radio. A piece
by the Voice
of America
looked at water and foreign policy and quoted Dr.
Peter Gleick on the benefits to the United States that could flow
from more involvement in global water issues. Senior Associate
Michael Cohen discussed the problems with the recently crafted
plan to “restore” the Colorado River in an Associated
Press story
that ran in several different outlets. The Contra
Costa Times, Monterey County Herald and other outlets covered
Dr. Gary Wolff’s recent report
on pesticide policy
in California. And, KRON-TV, an independent
Bay Area-based TV station, interviewed Meena Palaniappan on our
efforts to reduce diesel pollution in the area.


4/22, Urban Water
[Berkeley, Calif.], Meena Palaniappan will give a
presentation on “Improving Urban Water Access” at the
Technology, Innovation and Learning in Developing Economies Conference
at the University of California Berkeley. 9:45 AM. at the Wells
Fargo Room in the Haas Building. More info online.

4/27, Diesel Pollution [West Contra
Costa County, Calif.] The Pacific Institute and our local partners
are co-hosting a town hall meeting to discuss the results of a
recently completed indoor air monitoring study, and to get resident
input on strategies to reduce diesel pollution in the area. Contact
Emily Lee for more info.


3/31, Jason Morrison
attended a workshop entitled “Environmental Innovation: A Dialogue
on the Role of Government, Law and Regulatory Approaches,” held
at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The interactive
dialogue was designed to engage the range of stakeholders in answering
questions, such as how have existing laws and regulations helped or
hindered environmental policy innovation, and what characteristics,
considerations, or design criteria would improve existing incentive
programs and innovations.

3/31, Pacific Institute staff presented
Indicators II to the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Committee.
This report is an update to the groundbreaking Indicators Report created
in 2000 by the Institute and West Oakland residents. Residents were
able to see how things had improved or gotten worse on issues of concern
in the community, and strategize on campaigns to address ongoing problems.

3/30-4/1/05, Michael Cohen spoke
about the future of the Salton Sea and the range of restoration plans
that have been proposed at the Salton Sea Centennial Symposium held
in San Diego, Calif.

3/29, Emily Lee presented updated
data on West Oakland’s voting rates to a local voting organization,
East Bay Votes! West Oakland’s voting rate increased by 12 percent from
2000 to 2004, thanks to groups that worked to Get Out the West Oakland
Vote. The data collected will be included in the forthcoming Indicators
II Report.

3/28, Pacific Institute staff, in
conjunction with the Regional Asthma program, Urban Habitat, and West
Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, hosted a meeting of the Ditching
Dirty Diesel Collaborative. The meeting attracted 40 representatives
from grassroots, and regional health and environmental justice organizations,
to select regional campaigns and move forward efforts to reduce diesel
pollution throughout the Bay Area.

3/24/05, Michael Cohen contributed
to “The Colorado River Drought — Sharing the Pain” panel
at the Water Education Foundation’s Executive Briefing in Sacramento,

3/17, Peter Gleick presented a briefing
at the State Department on water supply and sanitation issues, with
recommendations for moving forward more effectively and aggressively.

3/16/05, Michael Cohen participated
at the Salton Sea Advisory Committee bimonthly meeting held in Los Angeles,

3/16, Emily Lee and Margaret Gordon presented comments on air
quality to the Oakland Planning Commission at a hearing regarding the
Final Environmental Impact Report for the 16th and Wood Street Train
Station project in West Oakland.

3/10, The Pacific Institute and the
West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project co-hosted a meeting with
city agencies, community residents, truckers, and the Port of Oakland
to discuss truck management issues in West Oakland. This diverse group
is working towards implementing a residential truck route that keeps
truck traffic out of residents’ neighborhoods. Outreach to stakeholders
is a priority, and feedback has been received from the Teamsters, West
Oakland residents, and Council member Nadel. For more information, please
contact Emily Lee at elee(at)pacinst.org or 510-251-1600.

3/8, Meena Palaniappan participated
in the kick-off of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project
and USEPA West Oakland Air Toxics Collaborative. The Collaborative brought
together a host of agencies, from the federal to the local level, along
with community advocates to implement solutions to reduce diesel pollution,
which were identified through Pacific Institute’s 2003 Clearing the
Air: Reducing Diesel Pollution in West Oakland report.

3/8, Peter Gleick gave a presentation
to the World Affairs Club in San Francisco on United States water policy
for their “Great Decisions” series.

3/7-3/12, Jason Morrison joined over
300 representatives from 42 countries to attend the kickoff meeting
of ISO’s Working Group on Social Responsibility, which has been tasked
with developing an international guidance standard on the subject by
2008. Morrison participated in the meeting, held in Salvador, Brazil,
as the NGO representative on the six-person United States multi-stakeholder

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