March 2013 Online Update 
Looking Back

At the Pacific Institute, we have spent 25 years examining the links between our environment, social equity, and the economy; they are inextricably linked. Jobs is one piece of this chain. Back in 2004 we looked at the economic productivity of California water – noting that even modest changes in what we do with our water can produce significant changes in job availability and the broader economy, as well as in social equity and the environment. Our latest analysis of sustainable water jobs shows that efforts to improve water systems and promote green strategies can meet anticipated water resource needs in ways that improve, rather than ignore, social equity, ecosystems, and long-term sustainability. And they can also make labor demand more predictable and allow for more effective planning of green jobs programs! Sustainable water management, green jobs for our communities: this is a powerful link.


New Report on Sustainable Water Jobs Gives a National Assessment of Water-Related Green Job Opportunities

The Pacific Institute released a comprehensive study, Sustainable Water Jobs: A National Assessment of Water-Related Green Job Opportunities. The report finds that proactive investments in increasing efficient water use and re-use will both address growing problems associated with drought, flooding, and contamination and create jobs in a wide range of professions. The study identifies 136 different kinds of jobs involved in implementing sustainable water strategies, from plumbers to landscapers, engineers to irrigation specialists. Thirty-seven of these job types are also projected to have high growth in the overall economy, with each projected to have more than 100,000 job openings across industries by 2020.

“There is great potential for partnerships between labor, business, water experts, community organizations, and policy makers to design projects and policy that are a win-win for jobs and for water improvements,” said Eli Moore, Co-Director of the Institute’s Community Strategies Program. “Such partnerships can align worker training and certification with industry and community needs and design policy that maximizes creation of high quality jobs.”

The study also developed six individual case studies of organizations that provide training and employment in sustainable water jobs: Amigos de los Rios in Altadena, CA; Groundwork Portland in Portland, OR; Limitless Vistas in New Orleans, LA; Sustainable South Bronx in Bronx, NY; Verde in Portland, OR; and ¡YouthWorks! in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Download the  full report.

Download the Executive Summary.

Download the Press Release.

“The impact of organizations like yours cannot be overestimated. The Pacific Institute examined the interrelated issues of the environment, our security, and economic development long before many people realized how important they are to our future. What you have already achieved stands as a testament to the power of service.”

President William Jefferson Clinton (2007)

Smart Water; New Jobs

Climate Change, Snow and Ice, and Water Resources


Water Wars? In the US?


On the Back of an Envelope: Brush Your teeth, but Turn the Water Off


(Mis)Understanding Sea-Level Rise (SLR) and Climate Impacts


UN CEO Water Mandate Convenes 11th Multi-Stakeholder Working Conference in Mumbai – Provides Formal Input into Post 2015- Sustainable Development Agenda

The CEO Water Mandate convened an international conference in India addressing UN water goals post-2015.

From March 4-7, the Globalization Program, in its role with the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, convened the initiative’s 11th multi-stakeholder working conference in Mumbai, India. Entitled Conference on Corporate Water Stewardship and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda: Drawing from the India Experience, the conference acted as a formal input into the UN-led Water Thematic Global Consultation and was live-streamed on the Consultation’s website.  


Discussions during these sessions indicated that solving the many different water-related challenges facing the world will require concerted, collaborative efforts among different sectors and groups. In addressing water challenges, businesses’s primary roles are to: 1) ensure their own house is order with respect to water-related impacts and 2) support and facilitate the realization of government-led goals. Businesses can provide a wealth of data (e.g., on water quality and groundwater depletion), expertise, and technology that allow governments to make informed decisions and implement them effectively. However, in addition to providing important resources, businesses must also act as an agent of change, urging governments to allocate resources to these important issues and encouraging good practices among their employees and suppliers and in the watersheds in which they operate. Business leaders should play an important role in mobilizing the global business community.


The sessions offered a variety of different suggestions and ideas for the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, including:

  • Goals related to water and sanitation are necessary to the achievement of all sustainable development goals; as such they should be listed as their own standalone topic.
  • Any target or indicators should relate to three subthemes: 1) Access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene; 2) water resources management; and 3) wastewater and water quality.
  • There should be a goal related to robust water resources management; this goal should consider that water management needs and strategies will differ greatly at the national and local levels.
  • Water resources management goals should drive institutional capacity while also assessing actual on-the-ground outcomes.
  • Goals related to sanitation must be further stressed and prioritized to highlight the importance of and difficulty of this issue.
  • Goals should look not only at water-related conditions, but also the core drivers of those problems in order to enact systematic change.

The meeting was preceded by a day-long field trip to a climate change resilience, economic development, and watershed management project in Sangamner Taluka by the Watershed Organization Trust. The final two days of the Mandate’s multi-stakeholder working conference focused on discussing the initiative’s current workstreams and projects, as well as other timely corporate water stewardship issues. Among the topics discussed were how companies generally mature as water stewards over time, the opportunities and pitfalls of corporate engagement in water policy, and what is truly meant by “water stress” within the context of corporate water initiatives and assessment tools. Pacific Institute Globalization Director Jason Morrison provided an update on the initiative’s development of guidance on aligning business practice with the human right to water and sanitation. The field trip also included a day-long session focused on collective action, including innovative collective action projects being undertaken by companies in India, the viewpoints of leading NGOs into how they approach the development of collective action projects with the private sector, and an interactive discussion session.


View photos from the field trip to Sangamner Taluka.
Visit the UN Water Thematic Global Consultation’s website

UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson Calls For Business and Other Stakeholders to Make Solving the Global Sanitation Crisis a Top Priority


As part of the CEO Water Mandate’s Conference on Corporate Water Stewardship and the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Mumbai, India, United Nations Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, via a special video address, called upon participants to focus on the global sanitation crisis. 


UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson Urges Attention to the Global Sanitation Crisis
UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson Urges Attention to the Global Sanitation Crisis

Pacific Institute Accepting Applications for Diversity for Sustainability Internship 

The Pacific Institute is accepting applications for our Diversity for Sustainability Internship Program through March 15. Begun in 2011, the internship is part of the Institute’s commitment to furthering diverse perspectives both in our own work and in the critical fields of environmental sustainability and social justice. The paid program for undergraduates or non-students with relevant life experience brings emerging environmental leaders from a variety of backgrounds to work under the mentorship of knowledgeable research staff at our Oakland office. For details and application requirements, click here.

In Brief   


Pacific Institute staff members gave talks and lectures, conducted workshops, and participated on panels far and wide this month. Here are some of the places we’ve been:

Dr. Newsha Ajami, Senior Research Associate:
- participated in a two-day workshop on Multi-Scalar and Cross-Disciplinary Approaches towards Equitable Water Governance sponsored by the National Science Foundation at the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies of the University of California – Santa Cruz.  She gave a talk on “Twenty First Century Governance Strategies to Empower Communities.” More details about the meeting can be found 

Heather Cooley, Water Program Co-Director:   

- attended the California Water Plan Advisory Committee meeting in Sacramento.

- gave the keynote talk on “California Water: Local to Global” at the CSU Chico Sustainability Conference at The Institute for Sustainable Development  of California State University – Chico. 

Catalina Garzón, Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program Co-Director:

- attended the National Moving Forward Together Network Convening in Kansas City, MO, a gathering of organizations working on freight transport and community health issues.

- presented on community engagement strategies for participatory research projects on environmental justice issues at a Public Participation in Scientific Research Workshop hosted by the UC Davis School of Education.
- presented on the Oakland Climate Action Coalition’s cross-sector approach to engaging impacted communities in local climate action at the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition’s General Member Meeting.

Dr. Peter Gleick, President: 
- spoke at the California Film Institute as part of the Science on Screen Film Series before the film presentation “Valley of Saints.”

- participated on a panel on “Where Will the Water of the Future Come From” at the New York Academy of Sciences.
- delivered the lecture “Overcoming Peak Water: Moving to Sustainability” at Cambridge University in Cambridge, UK as part of their Distinguished Lecture Series in Sustainability Development.


Upcoming Events


- Co-Director Heather Cooley will be presenting at the Water Education Foundation Executive Briefing in Sacramento, California. Her presentation will focus on seawater desalination in California. The conference will be held March 14-15 at the Doubletree Hotel in Sacramento. The conference, themed Changing Currents, will focus on the latest issues in California water. For additional information, go to the Water Education Foundation website.
- President Peter Gleick will be participate on a panel at The Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative “2013 Resources Roundtable, The Future of Urban Water,” on March 15 from 5:00-7:00pm. The theme for the discussion will be, “Urban Water Infrastructure.”  The event will be held at the The David Brower Center on 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704.
- Dr. Gleick will also give the keynote address at the Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards Ceremony on March 21. The event will be held at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, Room 225, San Jose State University, 150 E. San Fernando St., San Jose, California from 1:30-2:30pm. Please RSVP on the Water Awards website:
 - Peter Gleick will give the featured talk at The Bay Nature Local Hero Awards Annual Fundraiser on March 24. The event, “The Future of the Bay’s Nature: Our Estuary in a Changing Climate,” will be held at the Terrace Room, Lake Merritt Hotel, Oakland at 6:00 pm. Tickets for the event will be $125.00. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to


- Senior Research Associate Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith will be presenting at the 10th Annual Water Conservation Showcase on March 19 in San Francisco, California. Her presentation, scheduled at 4:00 pm, will focus on the recent Pacific Institute publication A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy. The all-day showcase will be held at the Pacific Energy Center at 851 Howard Street, San Francisco, California 94103. To learn more or register for the event, click here.

- Dr. Christian-Smith will also speak at the California/Nevada American Water Works Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas on March 26. The conference, themed “Sustainability in a Time of Change,” will focus on the latest issues and challenges facing the drinking water industry. The conference will be held March 25-28 at the Tropicana Resort, 3801 Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109. For more information and to register for the event click here.



- On March 23, the Pacific Institute will co-host a Community Resilience Workshop in West Oakland with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project and other members of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition’s Resilience and Adaptation Subcommittee. The workshop will engage West Oakland residents in mapping assets that can be used to build community resilience to local climate change impacts like heat waves, flooding, and poor air quality.The Community Resilience Workshop is at 11am-3 pm at the Lincoln Child Center at 1266 14th Street between Union and Poplar in Oakland, CA. If you are a West Oakland resident and would like to attend the workshop, please contact Cassandra Martin at or call 510-257-5640.



In the News

- Wynne Parry of NBC News Science spoke with Peter Gleick on freshwater resources, climate change, and water demand. Read the article here.

- Our Sustainable Water Jobs report (see this month’s feature story) was covered by many publications including Bloomberg Businessweek and The Modesto Bee

- Corey Hill from the East Bay Express reports on fracking in California – one of the state’s highly debated environmental issues. Read the article here.

- The California Environmental Health Tracking Program covered the Institute’s work on water affordability, quoting Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith in the spring edition of Improving Public Health with Better Information.

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