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Water in the West

Water in the West — a collaboration between the Bill Lane Center for the American West and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment — intends to help transform water systems built in the last century so that they are sustainable in the future, economically, ecologically, politically, and institutionally.

The program builds on Stanford’s strengths in interdisciplinary research, ability to convene diverse parties for open and constructive discussions on neutral ground, and our standing as an objective source of reliable information and analysis.

Researchers, students, and staff are focusing on four key areas in which we have the greatest potential to help promote effective water reform, and address the West’s growing water scarcity problem:

  1. Sustainable Groundwater: Through interdisciplinary research, we identify and develop solutions for more effective groundwater management and policy.
  2. Water Allocation & Management: Water in the West conducts research to find paths to efficient water allocation.
  3. Water & Energy: Water in the West develops tools and best management practices to effectively and efficiently integrate water and energy management.
  4. Watershed Health: Our interdisciplinary work strives to find solutions to the difficult problem of preserving rivers and streams while supplying adequate water to cities, farms, and ranches.

These programs seek to integrate disciplines, redefine old concepts and reimagine policies and institutions that have traditionally hindered sustainable management. While these programs are distinctive, they complement one another in many ways.

Water in the West includes faculty, staff and students from the natural, physical and social sciences, law, business, and humanities who engage in interdisciplinary research and teaching about freshwater.