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  September 2009 Online Update
Research for People and the Planet  
In This Issue
-CEO Water Mandate Convenes
-Feedback Sought on WASH Tool
-Cadiz Groundwater Storage Project
-Global Public Opinion

-In Brief

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Upcoming Event
Join Heather Cooley on October 26 as she participates in a half-day workshop in Portland, Oregon on the links between water, energy, and climate change.Hosted by the Rivers Network, the half-day workshop, Saving Water, Saving Energy, will cover the intersections between water, energy and climate change with an emphasis on how grassroots watershed groups can work with utilities and policy makers to apply water-oriented approaches that help communities both minimize and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Interested in attending the workshop or more information? Click here.

CEO Water Mandate Meetings Convened at World Water Week 
Summary of Discussion and Outcomes Available in Coming Weeks

CEO Water Mandate logoJason Morrison, director of the Pacific Institute Globalization Program, and Research Associate Peter Schulte attended World Water Week 2009 in Stockholm last month, where they helped convene four events of the CEO Water Mandate — a UN Global Compact initiative aimed at advancing corporate water stewardship.

The Pacific Institute helped organize the following Mandate-related events:

  1. A two-day multistakeholder Working Conference focused on advancing the initiative’s three main workstreams: Business Engagement with Water Policy and Management; Business, Water, and Human Rights; and Corporate Water Disclosure;
  2. A multistakeholder dialogue regarding a collaborative UNEP-Mandate stock-taking project on water accounting methods and tools;
  3. A public informational session designed to promote awareness of the initiative and garner input from a range of stakeholders;
  4. An endorser-only meeting pertaining primarily to governance, long-range work planning, and administrative matters.

At the Working Conference, Mandate endorsers and key stakeholders discussed a preliminary annotated outline of and next steps for the initiative’s upcoming Guide on Business Engagement with Water Policy and Management. They also explored practical steps companies can take to respect the human right to water and considered activities the Mandate can take in advancing this issue. In addition, endorsers sought clarification on expectations regarding their upcoming Communications on Progress — Water, a reporting requirement for Mandate endorsers due October 2009 for founding endorsers. The Mandate Secretariat will use these first-round reports to inform the initiative’s broader workstream on corporate disclosure, advancing more consistent and meaningful process-oriented and qualitative reporting.

A detailed summary of the discussion and outcomes from the Stockholm meetings will be released in the coming weeks on the UN Global Compact website.

Feedback Sought on Needs, Opportunities, and Challenges for WASH Decision-making Support Tool
Access Questionnaire Online

The Pacific Institute is developing a support tool in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector. This project, Community Choices, focuses on the challenge of getting information about existing WASH technologies and solutions to those who most need it, especially people at the community level. It aims to leverage and support current WASH sector activities by guiding and assisting in the decision-making process to provide appropriate and sustainable options.

As part of the planning process, the Institute invites WASH sector experts to share perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of developing a tool to support more informed decisions on WASH sector technologies and approaches. Feedback from WASH sector experts like you will help us shape this tool so it best responds to the needs in the field as well as addresses key challenges. If you are interested, please complete our questionnaire by September 30.

Click here to read the needs assessment on the tool.

For more information about the questionnaire or the project, or additional feedback beyond the questionnaire, please contact Meena Palaniappan at mpal@pacinst.org.


Institute Makes Final Environmental Impacts Report for Cadiz Groundwater Storage Program Public
EIR Available Online for Revived Project

Cadiz EIR CoverThe Pacific Institute has just made the final environmental impacts report for the recently revived Cadiz Groundwater Storage Program publicly available online.

The Final EIR can be found here.

The Cadiz Valley Groundwater Storage Project or “Dry-Year Supply Project” is a private venture (owned by Cadiz, Inc.) in the Mohave Desert in San Bernardino County, California. It is proposed to serve three functions: 1) store “surplus” water from the Colorado River during periods when water is available; 2) pump the stored water to users in dry years; and 3) possibly pump additional native groundwater.

The project is highly controversial for a variety of reasons. There are concerns about the construction of the pipeline, the availability of “surplus” Colorado River water, the apparent need to unsustainably pump native groundwater in order to make the project economically feasible, and the impacts on desert ecosystems and aquifers dependent on that same groundwater.

The project was halted over environmental and economic concerns in 2002, but has been recently revived.

For more information, click here. Read the 2001 Pacific Institute economic analysis of the project.

New Global Public Opinion Survey Finds Water Issues are Top Environmental Concern Worldwide
Water Pollution, Shortage Emerge as Most Important Water-related Issues 

A comprehensive global public opinion survey on attitudes about fresh water sustainability, management, and conservation finds that people around the world view water issues as the planet’s top environmental problem, greater than air pollution, depletion of natural resources, loss of habitat, and climate change.

AWS BAnnerThe poll surveyed 1,000 people in each of 15 countries and probed 500 in each of the following countries on specific questions: Canada, China, India, Mexico, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The results were released on August 18 in Stockholm as part of World Water Week. The independent survey was commissioned by Circle of Blue, the Michigan-based international network of leading journalists, scientists, and communicators and Pacific Institute affiliate focused on global water issues. Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: TAP) supported the research, which was conducted by GlobeScan, a global survey research firm.

“This research shows that across the globe, concerns about water are reaching a critical level of public consciousness,” said J. Carl Ganter, Circle of Blue co-founder and director.

More than five million people die each year due to a lack of safe drinking water, and the United Nations estimates that 5.5 billion people will lack adequate access to fresh water in the next 20 years.

For a more in-depth look at the survey results, click here.

In Brief

Institute Advises Governor Schwarzenegger on Solutions to California Water Crisis
On August 24, Peter Gleick and Heather Cooley met with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his senior water staff to discuss the findings and recommendations on agricultural water use efficiency detailed in the recent Institute report, Sustaining California Agriculture in an Uncertain Future. In addition, they discussed the need for monitoring and managing groundwater along with a wide range of other water issues facing California.

Christian-Smith Participates in Johnson Foundation Environmental Forum
On September  1-3, Juliet Christian-Smith participated in a session of the Johnson Foundation’s Environmental Forum focused on agriculture and water in the U.S. At the meeting, key elements of a national agenda were identified that would create resilient and sustainable ways for our nation to feed itself while not degrading the quality or abundance of its water wealth. The findings of this session and other sessions in the Johnson Foundation’s Forum will be used to develop recommendations on how to achieve freshwater resilience for the U.S. by 2025, which will be presented in June 2010 to President Obama. Read the meeting documents. Read selected readings. Click here for more information on the Johnson Foundation Environmental Forum.

Cooley Discusses Impacts of Sea-level Rise on California
Since its release in May, the Pacific Institute report, Impacts of Sea-Level Rise On California Coast, has been informing conversations around the state. On September 10, report co-author Heather Cooley presented our assessment at the 6th annual Climate Change Symposium in Sacramento. Then on September 29, Cooley will be the keynote speaker at the 9th Biennial State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference in Oakland, California where she will focus on the impacts of sea-level rise particularly on the Bay Area.

Research fellow from Australian National University Visits Institute
On September 4, Michael Smith, a research fellow at the Australian National University, visited the Pacific Institute to present on the Australian experience of incorporating water efficiency in engineering best practices and energy production.

Gleick Presents at World Water Week, University of Texas
On August 16th, Peter Gleick gave a talk at the Stockholm Water Week symposium on climate and water, focusing on the importance of water use efficiency and the need for a comprehensive “soft path for water.” On August 7, he gave the keynote presentation at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Economic Geology of the University of Texas, Austin on “21st Century Water: New Thinking for a New Era — Global Challenges in Water.”

Heberger Brings Water to Fresh Aire Festival

On August 29, Research Associate Matthew Heberger discussed “Safeguarding Our Water: Making Every Drop Count” at the Fresh Aire Festival in Napa, California.

Palaniappan Addresses World Affairs Council
On September 29, Meena Palaniappan, director of the Institute’s International Water and Communities Initiative, will address the World Affairs Council in San Francisco on new solutions for the growing global water crisis.

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