September 2012 Online Update 


Celebrating 25 Years


Looking Back and Book Give Away:  In 1993, the Pacific Institute released Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World’s Fresh Water Resources, in which authors argued that a “better understanding of the connections between water and all of our other concerns will lead to better understanding of proper and successful approaches to water management.” Released last month, the new book A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy provides the first independent assessment of water issues and water management in the United States in many decades. William K. Reilly, former Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President George H.W. Bush, calls the new book “a blueprint for reform. Those who care about the country’s water resource policy in all its manifestations would do well to take the themes to heart.”

We’ve been providing key recommendations for a new national water policy for nearly twenty years, and we want to share our work with you! We are giving away 15 copies of our new book, A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy, to our Facebook and Twitter fans and followers. To enter, go to our Facebook or Twitter pages, “Like” or “Follow” us, and post:

-Facebook users should post this on the Pacific Institute’s Facebook wall: It’s time for a new 21st century US water policy. We must move to a more sustainable, equitable, and efficient water system for people and the planet.

-Twitter users should Tweet: It’s time for a new 21st century US #water policy. Let’s move to a more sustainable, equitable, & efficient water system for all. @PacificInstitut

Share the Institute’s social media pages or invite others to like us and double your entries – just be sure to ask your friends to mention your name in their wall post or Tweet. Fifteen winners will be chosen at random on October 12, 2012. Winners will be contacted by Pacific Institute staff.

Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines Released at World Water Week Provide First Common Approach to Water Reporting

corporate_water_disclosure_cover.jpg Companies are fundamentally changing the way they address water. Increasingly, they are investing in water-efficient technologies, working with suppliers to encourage more responsible water use, introducing cleaner and more efficient products, and seeking to advance sustainable water management outside their fencelines as a way to mitigate water-related risks and impacts.


Corporate water disclosure is a critical component of a company’s water management efforts and water sustainability more generally. The UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate released Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines at Stockholm World Water Week to help advance a common approach to corporate water disclosure that addresses the complexity of water resources in a comprehensive yet concise and practical manner. The Guidelines suggest that companies offer several types of water-related information, which are captured in the Guidelines’ Corporate Water Disclosure Framework.

The Corporate Water Disclosure Framework builds on three areas:

  1. Company Water Profile – an overview of the company’s relationship with water resources, offering a snapshot of water performance, risks, impacts, and response strategies that nontechnical audiences can easily understand.
  2. Defining Report Content – a description of the process by which a company determines which water-related content to include in its report. The company assesses the significance of different water topics to the company and its stakeholders, and the extent to which those topics cause, or may in the future cause, adverse impacts to ecosystems and communities.
  3. Detailed Disclosure – specific, detailed metrics and qualitative information related to the company’s water management as well as to the specific water management programs and projects it implements.

Read more.
Download the Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines report.


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“A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy” was released in August.

“[Soft path water management approaches] encourage integration across sectors and scales, equitable access to water for both humans and ecosystems, proper application and use of technology and economics, incentives for efficient use, social objectives for water quality and delivery reliability, and public participation in decision making.”

From A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy,  the new book from the Pacific Institute



Blogs by Peter Gleick


- Congress, Tap Water, Bottled Water, and the Inauguration of the Next President
- Dam It, Don’t Dam It, Undam It: America’s Hydropower Future
- The Real Story Behind the Fracking Debate




Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith and Peter Gleick discuss their new book, 21st Century U.S. Water Policy.
Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith and Peter Gleick discuss their new book, A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy.


UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate Launches Global Water Action Hub

corporate_water_disclosure_cover.jpg The UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate initiative launched the global Water Action Hub – the world’s first on-line platform to unite companies, governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders on a range of critical water projects in specific river basins around the planet. 
The launch of the
Water Action Hub at World Water Week in Stockholm was accompanied by the release of a beta version of the CEO Water Mandate’s Guide to Water-Related Collective Action, which provides a step-by-step approach to water-resource-related collective action.

“With the Water Action Hub to help companies identify potential collaborators to improve water management in regions of critical strategic interest, and the Guide to Water-Related Collective Action to help them effectively develop a collective action engagement, the CEO Water Mandate is helping companies move into strategic partnerships that safeguard water resources, while delivering value to economies, business, and the community,” said Jason Morrison, Program Director of the Pacific Institute, which serves as part of the Secretariat of the CEO Water Mandate.

The core of the Water Action Hub online tool is a map-based data management system that facilitates match-making by allowing users to identify potential collective action opportunities via river basins, organizations, projects, and collaboration action areas.


Read more.
Download the
Guide to Water-Related Collective Action.
Visit the
Water Action Hub website.

New Tool Allows Users to Analyze Effects of Climate, Prices, Population, and Technology on Urban Water Demand through 2100


corporate_water_disclosure_cover.jpg Climate change will have significant impacts in California not just on water supply, but also on water demand. A new report and free  tool from the Pacific Institute help water managers forecast urban water demand with four global climate change models and compare different possible futures to the year 2100 by altering greenhouse gas emissions, population projections, conservation and efficiency measures, and more. The research shows climate change will cause increased water use in California’s cities and suburbs, even as water supply is expected to diminish.


“Scientists in California have done tremendous work analyzing how climate change is likely to affect our water supply in reservoirs and mountain snowpack. Not as much attention has been focused on the demand side: what will climate change do to water use in cities?” said co-author Matthew Heberger of the Pacific Institute Water Program. “Water managers are exploring ways to reduce climate impacts, and this report finds that conservation and efficiency efforts targeted at outdoor water uses are among the most useful.”


The Urban Water Demand to 2100 model will make it easier for state agencies, water utilities, and others to explore scenarios of future water use and identify possible response options. The model can be customized to reflect local or regional population projections, development patterns, water uses, energy requirements, and expected savings from conservation and efficiency measures.


Read more.
Download the
full report.
Download the
Urban Water Demand 2100 model.

Community-Based Climate Adaptation Planning Features Oakland, Calif.  



West Oakland neighborhood.

Adaptation planning it still in its infancy and local governments are struggling with how to navigate the planning process. A handful of communities in the United States have embarked on planning efforts and have engaged those most vulnerable to climate change impacts in some manner. The Pacific Institute report Community-Based Climate Adaptation Planning: Case Study of Oakland, California, co-authored by the Oakland Climate Action Coalition, provides an analysis of local climate change impacts, vulnerabilities, and adaptation options in Oakland, California in order to inform the development of comprehensive and equitable climate adaptation planning efforts. The new analysis identifies more than 50 strategies for building community resilience and adapting to climate change impacts such as extreme heat, flooding, wildfire, poor air quality, and rising food, water, and electricity prices.

The study on which the report was based used participatory research tools to engage active members of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition, including community-based organizations and resident leaders, in analyzing both the impacts of and social vulnerabilities to climate change. Coalition members worked with researchers to outline adaptation strategies that can be implemented at the local level, discuss their advantages and disadvantages, and identify social equity concerns.

The report also identifies trends and best practices in climate adaptation planning processes, focusing specifically on their efficacy in engaging the broader community and in addressing the needs of all residents, especially the most vulnerable. This report is meant to serve as a tool for both city planners and community members everywhere, as they work in tandem to develop more equitable and resilient cities for the climate of the future.    

Download the complete report


Community Researchers Advance Reentry Opportunities in Contra Costa County 

California counties are at a pivotal decision point for shaping the future of the criminal justice system as they implement the state’s AB109 realignment legislation. The
Safe Return Community Researchers, Pacific Institute, CCISCO, and a broad range of community leaders are making sure that Contra Costa County does not replicate the state’s failed system of mass incarceration and 70% recidivism rate. In response to our advocacy, the county established a Community Advisory Board, the only one of its kind in the state, and appointed 12 members including formerly incarcerated people with direct experience of what it takes to successfully reintegrate.

The county’s Realignment Executive Committee is currently deciding what to prioritize in its $19 million budget, and is considering a proposal by the sheriff to simply expand jail capacity. Research by Safe Return and the Pacific Institute has shown that a range of evidence-based solutions exist that would reduce recidivism and keep communities safe. These include reforming pre-trial sentencing, providing transitional housing and employment, and establishing a First-Stop Reentry Welcoming System to integrate and expand services. At an August 9 meeting attended by more than 100 community leaders, the Executive Committee voted to postpone a decision on the jail expansion. A budget proposal was presented that would ensure transitional housing, employment, and integrated services for the great majority of individuals returning under AB109.  


An op-ed co-authored by Pacific Institute Program Co-Director Eli Moore was published in the Contra Costa Times calling on the county to “embark on a path toward a justice system that is safer, fairer, and more effective.” For the op-ed and related news coverage, click here.

Risk from Climate Change Linked with Social Factors

This Op Ed by Heather Cooley, Water Program Co-Director, appeared in The Sacramento Bee on September 2, 2012.      

Firefighters battle the Ponderosa fire last month. The Pacific Institute says “social vulnerability” should be considered when planning for disasters.
Source: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Summer brings enjoyment of warm weather, long days, a refreshing swim and barbecues. But it also brings natural hazards. Temperatures in many parts of California are near or exceed 100 degrees. Many cities are also experiencing record high nighttime temperatures, and so the evenings bring little relief from the sweltering daytime heat.

These hot, dry conditions mean wildfires. More than 4,200 fires have already burned parts of California, 20 percent more than the average over the past five years. In addition to threatening homes, fires create air quality problems, in some cases far away from the site of the fire.


But while many Californians are exposed to these conditions, some are far more vulnerable than others. Children and the elderly, for example, are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses and other hazards. Or when a fire or flood occurs, those with low incomes may not have the resources to evacuate. They are also often underinsured and unable to rebuild after the disaster strikes.


A series of reports recently released by the state point to a future climate in California that is marked by increases in extreme heat, wildfires, coastal flooding and erosion. Changes are also likely to occur in air quality, water availability and the spread of infectious diseases. But understanding the physical impacts of climate change is only half the story.

Read more.

Upcoming Events    

- Last Chance: Sign up for
Water Rates Workshop for California Water Agencies and Boards

water_rates.jpg The Pacific Institute, in collaboration with the Alliance for Water Efficiency and the California-Nevada Section, AWWA, is conducting two workshops that address a question central to many water suppliers today: how to create effective water rates that both reduce water demand and provide enough revenue for water system improvements as well as provide for long-term environmental and financial stability.      


The one-day workshops will be held at the University of California – Davis on September 11 and in Carson, Calif. at the West Basin Municipal Water District on September 13, 2012. The workshops will review the results of a survey on rate-setting in California, provide information about new and existing rate-setting, and feature several success stories to communicate the advantages of effective rate structures to boards and rate payers. Please join us for an interesting and productive day.

Who should attend?

Staff and board members at water utilities, districts, and municipalities as well as policy makers, universi­ties, and anyone interested in water-rate-setting in California.


Agenda topics:

  • Overview of capital finance elements and California-specific challenges.
  • Strategies for addressing specific revenue challenges.
  • Overview and feedback from the Pacific Institute’s water rates and finances survey. (Haven’t taken the survey yet? You can access it here.)
  • Breakout sessions for urban and agricultural water suppliers to discuss key challenges.
  • Discussion and next steps.
  • For further information, go to: 


Get more information about the Water Rates Workshop in Davis, California on September 11.

Get more information about the Water Rates Workshop in Carson, California on September 13.



- Dr. Peter Gleick to Speak at San Francisco Commonwealth Club on Sept. 13 


Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick addresses the global water crisis: it is real, and in many parts of the world, worsening. Growing populations, increased competition for scarce resources, the impacts of climatic changes, and other risks and threats are all contributing to local, regional, and international concerns over freshwater. On September 13, Dr. Gleick will look at the future of our water challenges here and abroad, drawing on lessons learned over the past 2,000 years to describe the three “Ages of Water” – and will offer suggestions for moving to a more equitable and sustainable future.  

For more information and to purchase tickets to the San Francisco Commonwealth Club event, click

Date and Time: September 13, 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program
San Francisco Commonwealth Club – Blue Room
595 Market Street, San Francisco, California 94105
For a map, click
$20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID)
Program Organizer: Christie Batterman Jordan  

Purchase tickets here.


- Community Strategies Program Co-Director Catalina Garzón will present the results of the Pacific Institute’s research on Community-Based Climate Adaptation Planning in Oakland, California as part of UC Berkeley’s Environmental Planning Colloquium Series on Wednesday, September 26 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. in 315A Wurster Hall on the UC Berkeley campus.

This event is free and open to the public.

Click to see a map of the UC Berkeley campus.


- Water Program Co-Director Heather Cooley will give a presentation on virtual water and water footprinting at the Department of Water Resources’ California Water Plan Update plenary meeting at the Doubletree Hotel, 2001 Point West Way, Sacramento, CA, 95815 from 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. on September 13. The event is open to the public. Registration of $15 per day includes a working lunch.

To view the agenda, click here.
Click here to RSVP.


Notes From the Field: Mobile Phones Within Reach  


By Misha Hutchings, International Water and Communities Initiative Research Associate 


Why mobile phones? Because “mWASH” solutions can amass and disseminate information quickly and thoroughly – directly to or from the underserved populations most in need of service from water providers. A mobile phone WASH solution can fill information gaps by transforming the way data is generated, communicated, and shared – giving people a real and direct voice. Read more about our mWASH work in Indonesia here.


Rosyid awaiting customers in his shop where he sells secondhand mobile phones, handpon bekas, at prices the poor in Malang can afford.   Photo Credit: Misha Hutchings

In Malang, a city of about 820,000 people in East Java, Indonesia, Rosyid sells secondhand mobile phones (Indonesian handpon bekas) and offers repair services. A community leader and salesman in the sub-district of Blimbing, Rosyid’s priority is to make mobile phones available at prices that people in his community can afford. “In order to buy a new phone, we need a lot of resources to buy a new phone. One new mobile phone can get two or three secondhand phones. That is the issue.” Rosyid repairs phones at the community center in Blimbing, and also has his own, modest storefront for selling the secondhand phones nearer to the city center. He sells all types of mobile phones, including popular QWERTY phones, but the current trend has created a demand for touch screen phones. “Whether we like it or not, we must follow the needs and desires of society.”


Two years ago, Rosyid and others in his community recognized an opportunity to increase phone sales and to revitalize the secondhand markets in Malang, which lacked both sellers and shoppers. “We thought about how we can create an atmosphere that can make it busy again,” explained Rosyid. They promoted the market, called ROMA (abbrev. of Indonesian Rombengan Malam, Night Junk), on television and through media accessible throughout the city, and after one month the market was filled with sellers of high-quality secondhand mobile phones and other goods. Now, every night sellers line the sidewalks on Jalan Jenderal Gatot Subroto, and prospective buyers stroll past looking for deals.

Continue reading

In Brief

The Pacific Institute took World Water Week by storm – presenting research, facilitating workshops, serving on conference committees, and reporting on conference conclusions – read more about our activities at World Water Week below.

Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith, Senior Research Associate in the Water Program
- presented “Quantifying the Potential Water Savings Associated with Irrigation Efficiency Improvements” at the workshop “Best Use of Blue Water Resources for Food Security” during World Water Week. She also served as a Senior Rapporteur, summarizing and reporting conference conclusions related to good governance approaches to advance food and water sustainability. These conclusions will be presented in next month’s Online Update.

Kristina Donnelly,
Research Associate:
- served on the Young Water Professional Scientific Programme Committee at World Water Week in Stockholm.

Jason Morrison,
Globalization Program Director:
- facilitated the session “Tool Developer Perspectives on Applying Water Stewardship Tools in Industrial Settings” at World Water Week in Stockholm in his role as Technical Director of the UN CEO Water Mandate. He also discussed Stewardship Progression at the opening of the seminar “Towards Sustainability: Harmonizing Corporate Water Tools for Better Water Governance.”

Peter Schulte and Mai-Lan Ha, Research Associates:
- attended and helped facilitate the CEO Water Mandate Stockholm Working Sessions during World Water Week.

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:

Heather Cooley,
Water Program Co-Director
- attended a Commercial Industrial Institutional Task Force meeting to approve various sections of the Task Force’s report to the legislature about water conservation and efficiency improvements for the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors.
- attended a summit on water rates at the Johnson Foundation conference center in Racine, Wisconsin.

In August, visitors from abroad stopped by our office to present their work and learn more about the Institute’s current research. Our guests this month included:   

- Dr. Dror Avisar, head of the Hydrochemistry Laboratory at Tel Aviv University, discussed water quality, drinking water contamination, and new technologies for water treatment.  

- Suresh Rohilla, new Fulbright Scholar at the University of California – Berkeley and Program Director of Water Management at the Centre for Science and Development, talked about sustainable water management.

In the News

Circle of Blue’s
Brett Walton reviews A Twenty-first Century U.S. Water Policy, writing, “A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy is certainly being published at an auspicious time, and its recommendations deserve serious consideration.” Read more here.


The UK Guardian’s Andre Fourie attended a session at World Water Week hosted by the CEO Water Mandate and writes on the business sector’s discussion on how to take a long-term view, tackle issues at a local level, and establish cross-sector partnerships. Read more here.


GLOBE-Net reported on the Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines released during World Water Week in Stockholm. Read it here.

Environment News Service covers hot topics from World Water Week in Stockholm, including what companies are doing to reduce water and energy waste along supply chains and ways the business sector is engaging in collective action using tools such as the CEO Water Mandate’s new Water Action Hub. Read more here

KQED’s Nate Seltenrich speaks with Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith of the Pacific Institute Water Program on increasing urban water demands, higher temperatures due to climate change, and what that means for California. Read it here.

With this summer on record as one of the hottest in recent history, several publications have reported on the impacts of climate change on local communities across the country. The Pacific Institute report
Social Vulnerability to Climate Change in California was featured inThe New York Times Green blog, Central California’s RecordNet, and the Merced Sun-Star.

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