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  2008 Year in Review
Research for People and the Planet  
In This Issue
-World’s Water
-2008 Research
-Report Redefines Water Debate
-Research Informs Policy
-International Communities
-Corporate Social Responsibility
-Youth Research
-Salton Sea
-Climate Change Adaptation
-Colorado River
-Staff Updates
-Honors and Awards
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World’s Water

For twelve years, The World’s Water has informed and challenged conventional thinking about global water issues. This tradition continues, as this year, the Institute has completed work on the sixth edition of this biennial volume. The World’s Water 2008-2009, available for purchase from Island Press in early January,  covers today’s most pressing issues, including the concept of peak water, water and climate change, water in China, the status of the Millennium Development Goals for Water, and more.

World Water 2008 Cover

2008 Research

Water: Threats and Opportunities–Recommendations for the Next President, Peter Gleick

Richmond’s Tax Revenue from Chevron, Eli Moore, Swati Prakash

Can California’s Water Problems Be Solved?, Peter H. Gleick, Ecology Law Quarterly

More with Less: Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency in California – A Special Focus on the Delta, Heather Cooley, Juliet Christian-Smith, and Peter H. Gleick

Bioenergy and Greenhouse Gases, Green Power Institute, the Renewable Energy Program of the Pacific Institute, Gregory Morris

A Review of Decision-Making Support Tools in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector, Environmental Change and Security Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Pacific Institute

Public Comment on the EPA’s Drinking Water Preliminary Regulatory Determination, Lucy Allen, Courtney Smith

Driving vs. Walking: Cows, Climate Change, and Choice, Michael Cohen, Matthew Heberger

Hummer vs. Prius 2008 Redux, Peter Gleick

This year, people have been talking a lot about change. At the Pacific Institute, we have long recognized good science plays a critical role in creating positive change and sound policy.

Our work on issues in freshwater resources, climate change, environmental justice, and globalization continues to apply rigorous research to real-world problems, bringing about solutions that recognize complexity and uphold our commitment to creating a healthy planet and more sustainable communities.

From business-related water risks to the impacts of climate change, we continue to use the power of research and collaboration with stakeholders to prepare today’s world for tomorrow’s realities.

From communities in India to youth in Richmond, we are teaching others how to use the power of research and information themselves, to bring about action to improve their health and futures.

The accomplishments of 2008 show how our leading research is not relinquished to a shelf, but is actively used to bring about real change — change that advances environmental protection, economic development, and social equity here in California, and around the world.

Institute Report Helps Redefine California Water Management Debate
Potential for Agricultural Water Conservation Recognized

More With Less Report CoverSince its release in September, the Pacific Institute report on agricultural water conservation and efficiency in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region has helped redefine the debate around managing California’s water crisis.

While long absent from water management discussions, the potential for water savings in the agricultural community is finally being recognized. Farmers and decision makers are coming to understand that in a future of increasing water scarcity, doing nothing is not an option.

To further recognition and action toward more sustainable agriculture, report authors Heather Cooley, Juliet Christian-Smith, and Peter Gleick held policy briefings for 60 state legislators and staff and presented report findings to key organizations, including the Delta Cotton FieldVision Task Force, the California Board of Food and Agriculture, and the Irrigation Association. They also met with farmers and water bureaus around the state to discuss the report findings and to gather information for their more statewide agriculture report available in early 2009.

Read More With Less: Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency in California.

Institute Research Directly Informs Local, International Policy Decisions
Research Guides Climate Change, Human Rights, Health Decisions

From the threats of climate change to the human right to water to the health impacts of the local Chevron refinery, the Pacific Institute has continued to bring sound science directly into the decision-making process.

In May, the South African High Court in Johannesburg issued a groundbreaking ruling that awarded water rights to the poor–the first in which the constitutional right to water has explicitly been raised. The court’s decision relied heavily on Pacific Institute work: Institute President Peter Gleick submitted an amicus brief that was quoted extensively in the judge’s decision addressing the constitutional right to have basic water needs fulfilled.

In July, Senior Research Associate Heather Cooley testified before a United States Congress hearing of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming on the rising risk of extreme weather-related events as a result of climatic changes and their impact on water resources.

The Institute also provided testimony on water conservation and efficiency potential for the Delta Vision Task Force and the State Water Resource Control Board. President Peter Gleick met with senior members of the California Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C. to discuss new thinking for California water management.

Research Associate Eli Moore provided public comment to the Richmond City Council about the quantity of flaring events at the Chevron Richmond refinery during a hearing on the Draft Environment Impact Report of the Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project.

Partnering with International Communities to Work for Clean Water
Institute Helps Empower Local People to Advocate for Change

Ganges RiverThe Pacific Institute conducted trainings with several international communities this year aimed at empowering local people with information and strategies they can use to clean up their local water supplies and improve water management.

Joining local efforts to clean the crucial Ganges River in India, Initiative Director Meena Palaniappan traveled to Varanasi, India where she, along with affiliate Dr. Bailey Green, worked closely with the Sankat Mochan Foundation to generate change by engaging the community, informing the media, and advocating with elected officials. These trainings have helped bring about progress in cleaning up the Ganges: the national government is moving forward on a new clean-up plan, is working to implement some of the alternative wastewater treatmentSankat Mochan Foundation technologies featured in the trainings, and has requested that Dr. Bailey Green and the Sankat Mochan Foundation create a detailed project plan for an alternative wastewater treatment system.

Palaniappan also conducted trainings for community organizations in Guadalajara, Mexico on alternative strategies to using the polluted Santiago River to supply water for the city, and on the role of community engagement and policy advocacy in bringing about these alternatives. The network of NGOs in Guadalajara is continuing to advocate for more appropriate technologies to meet the city’s growing water needs.

Institute Advances Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility on Water
Alliance for Water Stewardship, The CEO Water Mandate Formed

Through our role with two initiatives dedicated to global corporate water stewardship and our ongoing participation in the development of international standards this year, the Institute continues to be a key player in efforts to improve ethical commerce and corporate social responsibility in the U.S. and around the world.

CEO Water MandateIn 2008, we entered into a formal agreement with the U.N. Global Compact to work on implementation of The CEO Water Mandate. This voluntary initiative seeks to mobilize a critical mass of companies in all regions of the world in developing a comprehensive approach to sustainable water management in their operations and supply chain. Dozens of the world’s largest companies have already signed on to this call to action. The third multi-stakeholder workshop of the initiative will take place in March 2009 during the fifth World Water Forum in Istanbul.

Also this year, the Institute, in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy, Australia’s Water Stewardship Initiative, WWF International, and Water Witness, helped found the Alliance for Water Stewardship. The Alliance aims to establish a voluntary certification program that will recognize and reward responsible water managers and users by creating opportunities for enhanced AWS Logocommunity standing and competitive advantage. In 2009, the Alliance will develop prototype water stewardship standards for pilot testing internationally.

In related arenas, the Institute continues to be a leader in the development of international standards to improve corporate accountability and sustainable development. Our Globalization Program has had significant impact on the International Standards Organization’s (ISO) Environmental Management Committee (TC207).  From becoming the first NGO to gain an official “civil society position” on the committee’s governing body, to successfully introducing a stakeholder classification scheme now used to track stakeholder involvement, to spearheading efforts to make stakeholder decision-making a more balanced process, the Institute continues to be an influential voice in efforts to create standards that protect the environment, consumers, and the public at large.

Local Youth Use New Research Skills to Improve Local Parks
Institute Teaches Others How to Use Research and Action for Change

Change

Youth PresentationsThis year, we helped train local youth to perform their own survey research on the condition of all 52 neighborhood parks in San Pablo, Richmond, and North Richmond. Using their results, the youth are working to upgrade these facilities: the Richmond City Council has appointed a commissioner to work directly with them to improve the parks in their communities.

In training these young people, the Pacific Institute developed a six-session curriculum on how to plan, design, and conduct neighborhood research projects and take action on the findings. This curriculum will serve as a foundation for future Institute work focused on teaching community residents skills for research and action that can be used to improve their neighborhoods.

Headway Made on Salton Sea Restoration Efforts
Institute Continues Work on Sea Governance Legislation

Salton Sea Bird This year, the Institute’s longtime work by Michael Cohen on restoring the imperiled Salton Sea generated progress with the passage of legislation that freed $47 million in Sea restoration funds–legislation the Institute strongly  advocated.

September’s passage of Senate Bill 187 authorized critically important “Period I” activities for the Salton Sea-­-on-the-ground projects the Pacific Institute, in working with state agencies and other stakeholders, helped develop. The passage of this critical legislation, coupled with the worsening condition of the Sea, underscores the need for a state agency responsible for managing and implementing Salton Sea restoration projects.

Recognizing this need, the Institute’s Michael Cohen continues working with Senator Denise Ducheny to draft and take action on Senate Bill 1256, which would create a governing agency responsible for overseeing efforts to improve the Sea. The bill, which failed to come up for a vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee where it was held, will be reintroduced next year.

Institute Works to Help Developing Countries Adapt to Climate Change Impacts on Water
City in Central India Selected as Pilot Project Site

Already faced with numerous challenges, including population growth and municipal systems that do not provide water to the entire population, water managers in developing countries are also faced with the changes that global warming will bring to their water systems.

Recognizing the threat of increasing water insecurity, the Institute began work this year on a project that will get feedback from water managers on what their needs and questions are related to climate change, and will develop tools that will allow them to adapt and be resilient.

In early 2009, Initiative Director Meena Palaniappan will be based in Indore, India-the largest city and the commercial capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Indore has been selected as the pilot project location for the Institute to work with local water managers and obtain feedback to inform the tools created through the project.

Colorado River Restoration Concept Moves Forward
Institute Works with Reclamation on Laguna Reach Restoration Plan

Laguna ReachThe Institute’s multi-year effort to promote the restoration of the Laguna Reach of the Colorado River continues to achieve success.

The Laguna Reach-just north of Yuma, Arizona is a salt cedar-choked stretch of the river between Imperial and Laguna dams. While it remains largely ignored, it could be a showcase site for multiple state and federal agencies, offering the potential for prime riparian habitat for migrating songbirds and several resident endangered species.

Recognizing this potential, Institute Senior Research Associate Michael Cohen developed a conceptual restoration plan in late 2007. With our conceptual plan as a basis, in December 2008, the Bureau of Reclamation began the federal contracting process for developing and implementing a detailed restoration plan for the area, and through next year, the Pacific Institute will continue to work with them in the design and implementation of a Laguna Reach restoration plan.

Staff and Board Updates
2008 Brought Growth To Every Program

This year saw growth throughout the Institute, responding to ever-burgeoning needs for research and action plans. In January, Program Associate Anny Chang joined the Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program, and Carmen Violich came on as a part-time research associate in June. In the spring, we welcomed a new communications  director, Nancy Ross. The Water Program expanded with the addition of Senior Research Associate Juliet Christian-Smith, Research Analyst Lucy Allen, and intern Pablo Herrera. Research Analyst Peter Schulte joined to bolster both the Water Program and Globalization Program.

The Pacific Institute also welcomed the talents of two new members to our Board of Directors: Joan M. Diamond, Chief Operating Officer/Sr. Scenarist at The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, and Dr. Eric Gimon, postdoctoral researcher in particle physics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Honors and Awards

Institute president Peter Gleick–in discussing water-related challenges facing the next president–was named one of Wired magazine’s “15 People the President Should Listen To.” Gleick was also appointed to the World Economic Forum’s Council on Water Security and to two National Academy of Sciences’ committees.

The Pacific Institute, along with the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, received the 2008 Business Ethics Network BENNY Award for its work resulting in a groundbreaking legal decision in South Africa this past April on the human right to water.

The Institute was nominated for and accepted a seat on the Steering Committee of the California Urban Water Conservation Council, with Heather Cooley serving as the Institute representative.

Within ISO’s Environmental Management Committee (TC 207), the Pacific Institute became the first NGO to gain an official “civil society position” on the committee’s governing body, the Chairman’s Advisory Group.

In April, the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners recently announced the appointment of Commissioner Margaret Gordon as their very first Environmental Liaison. Gordon, co-director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project and former Pacific Institute staff member, is expected to serve as a link between port officials and the West Oakland community where she has lived for the past 16 years.

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