Water, Climate Change Open Forum
Santa Cruz, Calif.

Join Peter Gleick and other water experts at a May 14 open forum in Santa Cruz titled “Tools for Addressing Climate Change and Local Water Resources.” Sponsored by local public water districts and environmental agencies, the forum will educate water resource managers and the public about the probable impacts of climate change on local water resources, how to plan for these impacts, and how to reduce greenhouse-gas emission. Held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the University Inn, 611 Ocean Street, the event is free and open to the public.


  Institute Work Aids South African Court Decision

Ruling A Victory for Human Right to Water




The South African High Court in Johannesburg recently issued a groundbreaking ruling that not only awarded water rights to the poor–the first in which the constitutional right to water has explicitly been raised–but did so with heavy reliance on Pacific Institute work.

The ruling found it illegal for the Johannasburg Water Authority to forcibly install prepaid water meters. Judge MP Toska also increased the free basic water supply from 25 to 50 liters per person per day–a decision that heavily quoted Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick’s written testimony solicited by the plaintiffs.

“Judge Toska has set a resounding precedent for the constitutional right to water and has highlighted the value of the research and analysis we do for the public good,” said Gleick.

For more information, click here.






 Analysis Finds Need For New Tool in WASH Sector

WWC, Institute Report Now Available


WASH Report CoverWhile billions of people lack access to safe water and sanitation worldwide, numerous technologies and approaches already exist to provide access to clean water, safe sanitation, and hygiene education. In a recently released report, scientists and development experts evaluate existing resources and identify the need for a comprehensive decision-making tool.

A project of the Pacific Institute and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, “A Review of Decision-Making Support Tools in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector” evaluates 120 existing resources, finds significant gaps, and recommends the development of a decision-making tool to evaluate approaches for individual situations.

“It can be a tremendous challenge for communities to figure out which strategy fits their water and sanitation hygiene situation best and to maintain these technologies over time,” said Meena Palaniappan, senior research associate at the Pacific Institute. ”Development of a comprehensive support tool would help in the decision-making process and would have a significant impact.”

To read the report, click here.





 To Walk or To Drive: That Is The (Carbon) Question

New Case Study Weighs In


Walk vs DriveDespite recent, high-profile media claims that walking is worse for the planet than driving, a Pacific Institute analysis shows that when it comes to the size of your carbon footprint, it all depends on the assumptions.

Looking at the numbers behind the surprising assertion, our calculations find driving generates less lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions only when the food used to fuel walking the same distance is extremely greenhouse gas-intensive–like all beef.

When more realistic assumptions about the walker’s diet are taken into consideration, the conclusion is reversed. If an average American diet is used, walking–even for a group of four–makes more sense than driving.

“While we commend growing efforts to understand the complex implications our purchases, choices, and activities have on the climate, we caution against making hasty behavioral changes based on analyses and comparisons that may be faulty or rely on unrealistic assumptions,” said Michael Cohen, senior research associate at the Pacific Institute.

Related news:


In Brief

Institute Works with Policymakers on Managing California’s Water

On April 23, Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick met with senior members of the California Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C., including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to discuss new thinking for California’s water management.

Gleick Gives National Science Academies’ Distinguished Wolman Lecture

On April 23, Peter Gleick delivered the fifteenth Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture of the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Research Council in Washington, D.C. A podcast of Gleick’s lecture, “A Sustainable Vision for Water in the Twenty-First Century,” will become available online at

Institute Coordinates Collaboration on Local Sea Level Rise Work

On May 12, the Pacific Institute will host a meeting in Oakland of local, state, and federal agency representatives to discuss and collaborate on research focused on the impacts of sea level rise on the San Francisco Bay region’s economy, infrastructure, and ecosystems.

Prakash Speaks on Place-based Solutions for Health Equity

On April 15, Program Director Swati Prakash participated in a panel discussion about the work of the Institute’s Community Strategies program and the Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative to address community health challenges created by freight transportation. Organized by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, this convening provided information on the built environment, its impacts on health, and identified policy solutions to address these health impacts on communities of color. For more information, click here.

Institute Co-hosts Workshop to Reduce West Oakland Diesel Pollution

On April 23, the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project and the Pacific Institute co-hosted a “Tools for Action” workshop as part of the collaborative Soot Busters project to reduce diesel pollution in West Oakland. More than 20 residents used their personal experiences, concerns, and questions to engage in a dialogue to create community solutions to address impacts of trucks in West Oakland.

Prakash Facilitates Discussions on Coalitions for Environmental Justice

On April 29th, Swati Prakash facilitated a panel discussion on “Building Coalitions for Occupational Health and Environmental Justice” at the California Wellness Foundation’s Conference on Environmental Health in Los Angeles. She also co-facilitated a roundtable discussion on “Building Accountable and Trusting Relationships Between ‘Intermediaries’ and Community-based Grassroots Organizations.”

April Showered with Water Talks, May Too

On April 7, Peter Gleick gave the New York City Water Industry Summit luncheon keynote address on “Water and Business in the Coming Decades.” Discussing a new approach to water policy, he presented at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law’s California Center for Environmental Law and Policy conference on April 10. Gleick then participated in the Oakland Local Government Forum on April 16 where he discussed the socioeconomic impacts of sea level rise in the Bay area. On April 21, he discussed new thinking about water management with Region 9 of the US EPA in San Francisco.

Gleick will give keynote presentations at the May 5 Envir08 Conference in Melbourne, Australia and the May 16 Chicago conference “Beyond Showerheads and Sprinklers: Water Governance Solutions for Illinois.” At the end of May, Gleick will participate in this year’s Mountainfilm in Telluride festival, which will feature films focused on water.

Internationally-Renowned Water Activist Visits Institute

Rajendra Singh, the well-known water conservationist from India, met with Peter Gleick and Program Director Meena Palaniappan in April to discuss working with communities to address local water problems.


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