December 2009 Online Update
Research for People and the Planet  
In This Issue
-Community Choices Tool
-Water Accounting Report
-Climate Change Panel
-Community Health Report

-In Brief

Water by Numbers
Check out the latest posts on Water by Numbers, Peter Gleick’s blog, featured on San Francisco Chronicle’s City Brights.Prepare now for another dry year

What the frack? Poisoning our water in the name of energy profits

Water on the Moon


Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Tool Prototype Generates Excitement
Development of New Tool to Connect Communities with Appropriate Solutions

community_choice_tool_ugandaThe demonstration of the mock-up of a  new tool to connect communities dealing with water and sanitation problems to appropriate technologies and solutions was met with tremendous excitement at the West Africa Regional Sanitation and Hygiene Symposium. Pacific Institute International Water and Communities Initiative Director Meena Palaniappan and Research Associate Misha Hutchings travelled to Accra, Ghana in November to get feedback on the development of the tool from the hundred-plus government, NGO, and community members from throughout West Africa.

The ultimate goal of this new Community Choices tool is to connect the people who are suffering from the lack of water and sanitation with technologies and approaches that help them improve their lives. It makes information easily accessible (both in format and language) to nonexpert users by asking a series of simple questions about their communities and, based on those answers, providing comprehensive information to build, maintain, and finance a set of appropriate solutions. In addition, the tool will provide information to connect the user to local experts and resources that can provide technical support and financing.

The goal of the mock-up is to be a target to obtain feedback on what is most needed in terms of substance, format, output, and dissemination of an ideal Community Choices tool. The overall development of the tool is envisioned to be a three-year, multi-regional, multi-organization global effort, and the tool will be built from the ground up and iteratively with local organizations. The development and strengthening of regional support centers to support community use of the tool is a critical part, as is translation into multiple languages and on-line as well as DVD-ROM and hard copy dissemination. For more information and background research on this effort click here.

If you are interested in reviewing the Community Choices tool demonstration and providing your input, please email Meena Palaniappan.

Public Comment Period on Corporate Water Accounting Methods and Tools Open
Deadline Is Dec. 11

The Pacific Institute has been soliciting public comments on the public draft of the Corporate Water Accounting report and will be through December 11, 2009.

CEO Water MandateThe United Nations Environment Programme’s Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics has commissioned the report from the Pacific Institute in its capacity as part of the CEO Water Mandate Secretariat. This stocktaking exercise, entitled “Corporate Water Accounting: An Analysis of Methods and Tools for Measuring Water Use and Its Impact,” is meant to map the state-of-play with regard to the methodologies and tools available for corporate water accounting. This report aims to fulfill the need to clarify commonalities and differences among existing and emerging water accounting methodologies and tools being used in the private sector. For more information on the report, click here.

Comments on the preliminary draft can be submitted to by December 11, 2009. The purpose of this consultation is to help ensure that the analysis provides value to businesses, while addressing the concerns of consumers, investors, and other stakeholders from civil society, academia, intergovernmental organizations, and communities impacted by corporate water practices.

The preliminary findings of the report were presented November 23-24 by Jason Morrison at a two-day “Water Accounting” workshop hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Pacific Institute will make final edits to the report based on feedback from this workshop, as well as from comments received. The final version of the report is slated for release in spring of 2010.

For more information, click here.

Christian-Smith to Lead Panel that Will Advise State Climate Change Adaptation
Water Sub-Group to Focus on Fires, Sea-level Rise, and Drought

Juliet Christian-SmithPacific Institute Senior Research Associate Juliet Christian-Smith was chosen to serve as the water sub-group leader for the Climate Adaptation Advisory Panel to the State of California.

The Panel is focused on three key hazards which are most likely to have increasing impact on the health and safety of California as the climate warms. These hazards are: increased wildfires and extended fire seasons, rising sea levels along 1100 miles of coastline, and reduced availability of water with reduced snow pack in the Sierras and extended periods of drought.

The task force will develop recommendations for consideration by the Natural Resources Agency, the legislature, and others, intended to reduce these risks by enabling California to proactively manage these challenges. For more information, click here.

Pacific Institute Research Directly Informs California’s New Climate Adaptation Strategy

State Recognizes Environmental Justice Concerns Must Be Tackled

In the newly released 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy–a report to guide California’s efforts in adapting to climate change impacts, the state draws heavily on Pacific Institute research on the impacts of sea-level rise on California’s coast. Institute President Peter Gleick was invited to join the Governor for the report release on December 2.

Not only does the report rely on impact projections made by the Pacific Institute in March 2009, it also recognizes the environmental justice concerns sea-level rise may pose–concerns first raised by the Pacific Institute. Recognizing these concerns, the Adaptation Strategy states “environmental justice concerns should be incorporated and mainstreamed into all strategies where it is possible.”

The state’s Adaptation Strategy, released Dec. 2 by the Governor’s Office, is a multi-sector approach written in direct response to Gov. Schwarzenegger’s November 2008 Executive Order S-13-08 that specifically asked the Natural Resources Agency to identify how state agencies can respond to climate change.

Read the Pacific Institute report on the impacts of sea-level rise on the California coast.

In Brief

Gleick Joins Governor and Briefs National Academy of Sciences
Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick was invited to appear with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on December 2 on San Francisco’s Treasure Island for the release of the state’s new climate adaptation report and plan. The Pacific Institute did the research and recommendations on the impacts of sea-level rise on the California coast for the state plan.

On November 18, Gleick participated in a briefing for the Little Hoover Commission on fixing California’s water problems. Two days later he provided a briefing to the National Academy of Sciences Naval Studies Board Committee on the international security implications of climate change and impacts on water resources.

Cohen to Speak on Water Conservation at Colorado River Water Users Association
On Dec. 10, Senior Research Associate Michael Cohen will speak as a member of the “Every Drop You Take: The Need for Augmentation” panel at the Colorado River Water Users Association annual conference in Las Vegas. He will question the need for new capital-intensive augmentation projects, instead highlighting the tremendous potential for additional water conservation–especially in urban areas–to meet the needs of growing populations.

Cooley Attends Meeting on Water and Energy Connections
From Nov. 16-20, Heather Cooley attended a meeting on water and energy connections, a link of critical importance in sustainable water management, at the Wingspread Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin. The meeting was hosted by the Johnson Foundation.

Morikawa Presents on Business Risks of Water at Sustainable Silicon Valley Water Summit
On December 7, Research Associate Mari Morikawa spoke at the Water Summit organized by Sustainable Silicon Valley at NASA, Mountain View. She was the panelist in a session on “Business Risks and Infrastructure Financing,” addressing global water trends and climate change impacts on water resources and how they affect business. Read more about the event here.

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