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New directions for US water policy

Monday, October 20, 2014

Water is critical to America’s social, economic, and ecological well-being. Yet, more than 70 percent of the western United States is in the grip of an ongoing drought that shows no signs of ending. California is experiencing its third year of historic drought conditions, with losses to the agricultural sector totaling about $2.2 billion in 2014 alone. The water crisis is as much an economic issue as an environmental one, and demands focused national attention.

On October 20th, The Hamilton Project at Brookings and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted a forum and released new papers highlighting opportunities for improving water management in the United States in the face of scarce water supplies.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg gave welcoming remarks, followed by an introduction and roadmap of the event by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin. California Governor Jerry Brown gave featured remarks on the landscape of water in the West.

Participants included, among others: Robert Glennon of the University of Arizona; Thomas Iseman of the U.S. Department of the Interior; James Lochhead, Chief Executive Officer and Manager of Denver Water; Ellen Hanak, Senior Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California; William Phillimore of Paramount Farming Company; Barton Thompson of The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment; Michael Markus of Orange County Water District; Tamin Pechet of Banyan Water; Peter Yolles of Water Smart Software; Wade Crowfoot of the Office of California Governor Jerry Brown; Noah Diffenbaugh of The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment; Peter Gleick of The Pacific Institute; Solomon Hsiang of the University of California, Berkeley; and Thomas F. Steyer, Investor, Philanthropist and Advanced Energy Advocate. The forum closed with remarks by Steven Denning of General Atlantic and Chairman of the Board at Stanford University.


9:00 a.m. Welcome

Sheryl Sandberg
Chief Operating Officer, Facebook

9:10 a.m. Introduction and Roadmap of Event

Robert E. Rubin
Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary

9:20 a.m. The Landscape of Water in the West

Governor Jerry Brown
State of California

9:50 a.m. Roundtable: Shopping for Water: How the Market Can Mitigate Water Shortages in the American West

Author: Robert Glennon
Regents’ Professor, Morris K. Udall Professor of Law & Public Policy, James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona

Discussant: Ellen Hanak
Senior Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California

Discussant: Thomas Iseman
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior

Discussant: James Lochhead
Chief Executive Officer and Manager, Denver Water

Discussant: William Phillimore
Executive Vice President, Paramount Farming Company

Moderator: Melissa Kearney
Director, The Hamilton Project
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

10:55 a.m. Break

11:10 a.m. Roundtable: The Path to Water Innovation

Author: Barton “Buzz” Thompson
Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law and Perry L. McCarty Director, The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Discussant: Michael Markus
General Manager, Orange County Water District

Discussant: Tamin Pechet
Founder and Board Director, Banyan Water

Discussant: Peter Yolles
Founder and Chief Policy Officer, Water Smart Software

Moderator: Roger Altman
Founder and Chairman, Evercore

12:15 p.m. Moderated Discussion: The Impact of Climate Change on America’s Water Resources

Introduction by Robert E. Rubin

Wade Crowfoot
Deputy Cabinet Secretary and Senior Advisor, Office of California Governor Jerry Brown

Noah Diffenbaugh
Associate Professor of Environmental Earth System Science S
Senior Fellow, The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Peter Gleick
President and Co-Founder, The Pacific Institute

Solomon Hsiang
Assistant Professor of Public Policy, The Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkely

Moderator: Thomas F. Steyer
Investor, Philanthropist and Advanced Energy Advocate

1:20 p.m. Closing Remarks and Adjournment

Remarks by Steven Denning, Chairman, General Atlantic; Chairman of the Board, Stanford University