November 2011 Online Update

Research for People and the Planet  

In This Issue
- Water for Energy
- Videos from World’s Water Book Launch
- Multiple Use Water Service Workshop
- The Water, Energy, and Food Security Puzzle
- WATER SMS Learning Sessions
- WASH NGOs Sign On
- Notes from the Field
- New Fracking Project
- In Brief, Upcoming Events, News


The Earth Still Goes Around the Sun, and It’s Still Warming

Bad Science Leads to Bad Policy

Jobs and Water for America





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Water for Energy: New Report Analyzes
Electricity Production in the U.S. Intermountain West  



The production of electricity, from fuel extraction to generation, has growing impacts on both water availability and quality. The new study from the Pacific Institute, Water for Energy: Future Water Needs for Electricity in the Intermountain West, evaluates future water needs for different energy futures and identifies a growing risk of conflicts between electricity production and water availability. The report also identifies strategies to ensure the long-term sustainable use of both resources.

The new analysis examines the water requirements for current and projected electricity generation within the Intermountain West, which is the area bound by the Rocky Mountains in the East and the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains in the West. While water and energy conflicts are increasing across the U.S., the Intermountain West is of particular interest for this study because it has a growing population (and growing demand for energy and water), a diverse fuel mix for power generation, and existing water constraints and limitations that are expected to worsen.

“We know that there are very important links between water and energy,” said Heather Cooley, co-director of the Pacific Institute Water Program and lead author of the report. “Our analysis shows the western U.S. can meet the electricity demands of a growing population using far less water than we do today by improving water and energy efficiency and adopting dry cooling and renewable energy systems.”

The other major finding of the report is that while we can dramatically reduce the water requirements for electricity generation, there are other growing energy-related threats to regional water availability and quality. Extracting fossil fuels for energy production is especially risky because they require processes that use and pollute water. Too often, water-quality impacts are poorly understood and largely ignored.

Read the press release.



Video Briefs from The World’s Water Volume 7 Launch at the Woodrow Wilson Center 


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New Report Launched:

The World’s Water, Volume 7 –
Webcast of Peter Gleick’s Address

Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick spoke at the launch of the new volume of the Institute’s biennial report on freshwater resources, The World’s Water Vol. 7. The event was hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. on October 18.

 Worldwide, nearly a billion people lack access to safe drinking water, while 2.5 billion lack access to adequate sanitation services. “This is the world’s biggest water problem,” Dr. Gleick said. “The failure to meet basic human needs for water – it’s inexcusable.”

For more than a decade, The World’s Water series has been a critical resource in calling out and addressing global water issues. The current volume covers topics from reducing the risks of climate change for transboundary waters and steps and solutions to tackle our urgent water-quality challenges, to responsible and sustainable corporate water management, water and energy issues, and more.

 Go to The World’s Water site.  Order online from Island Press.  View selected chapters and data.  

Click on the videos below for short Woodrow Wilson Center interviews with Peter Gleick on topics from The World’s Water Vol. 7.


Peter Gleick - Peak Water and Peak Ecological Limits
 Peak Water and Peak Ecological Limits


Peter Gleick - Climate Change and the Water Cycle
Climate Change and
the Water Cycle


Peter Gleick - Addressing Water and Population Dynamics
Water and Population Dynamics





Multiple Use Water Service Workshop in Oakland Brings Together Participants from Eleven Countries  


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Participants from the Multiple Use Water Services Workshop gathered in Oakland, Calif.

The Pacific Institute in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation hosted a workshop on Multiple Use Water Services (MUS) from October 13-14 in Oakland, California. Multiple Use Water Services (MUS) is an emerging framework in the global water sector integrating the multiple needs that water serves in communities, including water supply, agriculture, and productive use. In the workshop the group focused on learning from previous integration efforts in the water sector to ensure key areas were addressed to ensure robust and sustainable MUS implementation. Thirty participants from 11 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the U.S., and more attended the workshop, representing practitioners, NGOs, government agencies, and funding organizations.

Workshop discussions explored the potential benefits and risks in pursuing a MUS approach, and identified key challenges and mechanisms to better integrate ecosystem impacts, sanitation, public health, and equity considerations into MUS projects. The participants also had a session on measuring success and ensuring long-term accountability for project outcomes. Through these workshop discussions, the Pacific Institute and its partners will identify a set of recommendations for a more comprehensive approach to moving forward and scaling up MUS projects in communities globally. Outcomes from the workshop will guide the development of a Pacific Institute concept note on making the MUS approach more sustainable and robust, which will be released next year.


Solving the Water, Energy, and Food Security Puzzle


On November 7, Bonn Perspectives blog published a piece by Pacific Institute Water Program Co-Director Heather Cooley recommending the most important initiatives to address the interconnections within the water, energy, and food security nexus:  


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Water Program Co-Director Heather Cooley

The era of abundance is ending, being replaced by the era of limits. Across the U.S., conflicts between water, energy, and food security are increasing, yet our policies and management decisions still reflect 20th-century approaches. In particular, water, food, and energy policies are rarely integrated and are based upon the assumption that these resources will remain cheap and plentiful. For example, the federal government, through mandates and subsidies for corn production, has massively increased ethanol production, with little consideration of impacts on food prices or water supply and quality. Similarly, efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through carbon capture and storage or through expansion of natural gas production through “fracking” are pursued with little knowledge of or regard for their water implications.

Integrated planning and decision making are needed, based on:

  • High-quality, reliable data;
  • Sound science;
  • Interdisciplinary analysis; and
  • Multi-stakeholder, collaborative processes.

Such efforts must be applied to all policy and management decisions, from efficiency standards to subsidies and other financial incentives. Indeed, some “unintended consequences” of our biofuel policies result directly from lack of communication and coordination among water, energy, and agricultural planning and decision-making processes. Trade-offs in priorities may be required, but failure to integrate will merely result in shifting one crisis for another.


Read the full blog post.


Indonesia WATER SMS Learning Sessions Continue in Makassar, South Sulawesi

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PATTIRO facilitators lead a discussion with a break-out group in the Tallo sub-district of Makassar, Indonesia.

Indonesian NGO PATTIRO, the Pacific Institute, and Nexleaf Analytics continued meetings with communities in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia to learn about the specific challenges the residents face in meeting their daily water needs, understand what improvements residents wanted to see in water services, recognize what information they needed to improve their water supply, and identify organizations and agencies that could respond to those needs.  


This information is helping the Pacific Institute and our partners define key aspects of the Indonesia WATER SMS system, the pilot of our mobile-phone-to-web based communication and transparency system to improve water and sanitation services.This second pilot location, the city of Makassar, South Sulawesi, is a densely populated coastal city with 1.3 million residents (7,620 per sq. km) (Central Bureau of Statistics Makassar, 2010) and inadequate water infrastructure and resources. Residents here are facing extreme challenges, some not receiving municipal water service for the past three months due to lack of supply.


Further information from sessions with local government, the water utilities, community-based organizations, and local researchers will also be gathered and analyzed to identify the intersection with the communities’ needs and then to design the system to ensure that all information sent either receives a response to attend to urgent, short-term needs or contributes to a pool of data useful for planning.

Read more on the Water SMS system.  

Pacific Institute Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Five WASH NGOs in West Africa


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Partners discussing the MOU at NewEnergy
office in Tamale

On September 23, the Pacific Institute signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with World Vision, NewEnergy, Pronet North, Rural Aid, and Centre Regional pour L’Eau Potable et Assainissement (CREPA). The MOU, which spells out the roles of each partner, is a working document for all the partners toward the development and dissemination of the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) decision-making tool. Both CREPA and World Vision are international organizations with presence in many countries in Africa, and NewEnergy, Pronet North, and Rural Aid are local NGOs based in Ghana.


As part of the MOU, a Project Management Team meeting was also held in September. The team decided to conduct learning sessions on the WASH Choices Tool (formerly Community Choices Tool) in three communities and two WASH practitioners meetings in Ghana, and in three communities and a WASH practitioners meeting in Burkina Faso, which were held between September 26 and October 7. A detailed report on these learning sessions is upcoming.

Notes from the Field


How can we promote sustainable WASH facilities at community level? Naba Kuliga in Burkina Faso says it all.
by Dr. John Akudago, Senior Research Associate   

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Sa Majesty Naba Kuliga is a Community Chief in Burkina Faso.


I took a recent trip to Burkina Faso to conduct a learning session on the WASH decision-making tool ( currently being developed by the Pacific Institute. I arrived in the town of Sabtenga, a rural community located in the Northern part of Burkina Faso about 50 kilometers north of Ouagadougou.

As part of the traditional custom, visitors intending to hold meetings within the community must first report to the Chief. I arrived at his house about 300m north of the village market to find the 66-year-old community chief, Sa Majesty Naba Kuliga, seated in front of his house. After welcoming us and listening to our mission, he smiled and gave blessing for the meeting…


The “We are Coming Syndrome” calls for community decision-making tool
by Dr. John Akudago   

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Learning session at Bulenga community in the Upper West Region, Ghana.

In Ghana, there is a saying that goes like this: “The world changing does not mean the sky will be on the ground but only that people will shift away from doing things the way they used to do them.” This saying came to light when I recently visited Bulenga in the Wa East District of Upper West Region of Ghana for a community learning session.  


About 17 men and 13 women attended the learning session. The photo to the left shows the community learning process. During the process of learning, the community was asked if it was necessary for NGOs and development partners to ask them of their needs and priorities before coming out with solutions to their problems…

New Project on Hydro-Fracking Kicks Off

Natural gas has been touted by some as a key “bridge fuel” that will transition the U.S. toward a more low-carbon energy economy. Energy analysts, including the Energy Information Administration, foresee that the electricity and other sectors will increase their reliance on natural gas. Much of the proposed expansion in natural gas will result from the application of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), a relatively new technology.

In November, the Pacific Institute kicks off a new project analyzing the key technical and policy issues related to hydraulic fracturing with a focus on the water-related consequences. This effort will identify key scientific and technical challenges through a review of newly available information and interviews with key stakeholders, including representatives from state and federal government, water and wastewater managers, public health officials, environmental groups, and community-based organizations. This work is generously supported by the Schmidt Family Foundation.

Report from Circle of Blue  


Circle of Blue, an affiliate of the Pacific Institute, is the international network of journalists, scholars, and citizens that connects humanity to the global freshwater crisis.

Carl Ganter

Circle of Blue Director Carl Ganter

Circle of Blue Director J. Carl Ganter attended the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council October meeting in Abu Dhabi where the forum set the “water-energy-food nexus” as a top priority and developed input for the Rio+20 conference in June. The event brought together 700 thought leaders from around the world to help define and find solutions to global challenges such as water, climate, and weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Ganter also presented at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa and at the Compass Summit in Los Angeles.

Read Water News at
Circle of Blue.


In Brief   


Winnemem Wintu Tribe of Northern California Participates in Mapping Workshop to Protect Sacred Sites and Trails
Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program Co-Director Eli Moore facilitated a participatory community mapping workshop for members of the Winnemem Wintu tribe in Northern California on October 10. The workshop was the second in a series that is part of a partnership with the tribe to build members’ capacity to use mapping technologies to document their sacred sites and trails. The mapping research provides data necessary to assess the potential impacts of the proposed raising of the Shasta Dam, which would further inundate traditional Winnemem Wintu land.


Community Researchers from Safe Return Project Participate in National Grassroots Gathering On November 2, the Community Researchers involved in the Safe Return Project, a participatory research project of the Pacific Institute, participated in a national grassroots gathering to discuss and ratify a National Agenda to restore civil and human rights to formerly incarcerated people. Recent primary research by the Safe Return Project found 78% unemployed and 70% without stable housing among a sample of recently released residents. This research as well as policy recommendations for leveling the playing field and supporting community reintegration are online here.


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: 


Water Program staff presented at the
WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas:
- Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith, senior research associate, convened a panel on water rates and how to create incentives for conservation without compromising fiscal stability.
- Heather Cooley, co-director, presented on
WECalc and WESim, two Pacific Institute tools for integrating water and energy management.
– Matthew Heberger, research associate, spoke on “Simulating Future Water Demand in California with a Changing Climate.”


Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith and Matthew Heberger:
- attended the Woods Institute for the Environment’s Comparative Groundwater Law and Policy Workshop at Stanford University.   

Matthew Heberger:
– testified on climate change and sea-level rise at the California Senate hearing on “Climate Change Adaptation: Impacts in Southern California” in Santa Monica, conducted by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water and Senator Fran Pavley (D-23rd District, Southern California).   


Heather Cooley:
- attended the
Commercial Industrial Institutional Task Force meeting in Sacramento on October 20.


Heather Cooley and Catalina Garzón, co-director of the Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program:
- co-facilitated a report-back session on key findings and draft recommendations from the Pacific Institute’s research on Oakland climate change impacts and adaptation options with the Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC). OCAC members also helped to develop a communications plan for how to share the research findings and recommendations with key audiences like decision-makers and community residents.   


Catalina Garzón:

- served on the planning committee for a series of Public Health and Climate Change Convenings sponsored by the Public Health Institute to inform the development of a California-wide public policy action plan for climate change.
- participated in an Aviation Justice Roundtable in Oakland, Calif. organized by Aviation Justice Express, a national tour bringing together global climate activists and local aviation-impacted communities.
- presented at a panel session on Transportation Justice, Planning, and Jobs at a convening of the Federal Inter-agency Environmental Justice Working Group.

- attended the Bay Area Equity and Resilience Convening, a gathering of community groups, social movements, and public planners to chart a path for resilience with justice in the Bay Area.

Dr. Peter Gleick, president:
- presented The World’s Water Vol. 7 at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars on October 18.
- spoke on a water panel at an event hosted by the Society of Environmental Journalists in Miami, Florida.
- gave the keynote speech Understanding of the Global Hydrologic Cycle and Water Management Challenges in the 21st Century at the World Climate Research Program Open Science Conference in Denver, Colorado.   


Eli Moore, co-director of the Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program:
- presented Socio-economic Vulnerability to Climate Change as part of the Public Health Institute’s web forum, Charting the Rapids Ahead: Western Water, Climate Change, and Public Health, on October 19.
- presented a research poster on the Safe Return Project with Tamisha Walker at Faces of Change: People and Strategies that Make a Difference, a national conference organized by Centerforce.



Upcoming Events      

-Join Peter Gleick this Thursday via Live Chat to Discuss our Obsession with Bottled Water:

This month, BookHugger presents Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water by Peter Gleick. Readers can join in a discussion this Thursday with distinguished climate scientist and Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick. Join in at 3pm Eastern Time on November 17, 2011.



To RSVP to the live chat, go to and click the RSVP button. And don’t forget, Bottled and Sold is available at a 30% discount to TreeHugger readers. Simply visit Island Press via this link and use the coupon code 2HUG.



Read Treehugger’s review of Bottled and Sold here


-Tune in to Hear Heather Cooley Discuss Water and Energy on Ideas on the Edge:
This Friday, November 17 at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time, tune in to KFCF radio (online at Water Program Co-Director Heather Cooley is the author interview, speaking with host Mike Beevers about the new Water for Energy report and California water issues.
- Heather Cooley will attend the Commercial Industrial Institutional Task Force meeting in Sacramento, Calif. on November 17. The meeting is open to the public and will run from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Center for Collaborative Policy, 815 S St., Sacramento, Calif.  


- Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith will attend the Agricultural Stakeholders Committee meeting in Sacramento, Calif. on November 16. The meeting is open to the public and will run from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Center for Collaborative Policy, 815 S St., Sacramento, Calif.


In the News


- Former Vice-President Al Gore reposted a letter Peter Gleick wrote to Climate Deniers on his blog last month. Click to read the letter

- Peter Gleick talks about The World’s Water Vol. 7 and our failure to make access to safe water and sanitation a priority in an interview with Randy Showstack from EOS, newspaper of the American Geophysical Union. Read it here

- In an interview with Pete Spotts from the Christian Science Monitor, Peter Gleick weighs in implications of a new NOAA study on how global warming is playing a significant role in diverting much needed wet winter weather away from the increasingly dry Mediterranean. Read it here.

- The Encino Patch covered a hearing hosted by state Senator Fran Pavley where Matthew Heberger testified on climate change and sea-level rise. Read more about the hearing

- Michael Mackenzie from ABC Radio talks to Peter Gleick about The World’s Water Vol. 7 and fracking’s impact on water quality and concerns around the extraction of natural gas. Listen here.   

- Eli Moore spoke with Hannah Dreier from the San Jose Mercury News on recidivism and how Richmond could support formerly incarcerated individuals to successfully reintegrate back into society and give back to their communities in the most productive way. Read it here

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