Planning for America’s Water Infrastructure Needs

Date Range
Mon February 5th 2018, 2:30pm - Tue February 6th 2018, 6:00pm
Event Sponsor
Stanford Law School, Water in the West, and the Bill Lane Center for the American West
Stanford University
Jerry Yang & Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building (Y2E2)
Room 299
473 Via Ortega
Stanford, CA 94305
Admission Information

By Invitation Only On this page: Agenda | Travel Information

Planning for America’s Water Infrastructure Needs

Read the white paper that emerged as a result of this 2018 workshop. It covers challenges that all water managers face and three particular water infrastructure issues: the opportunities afforded by considering water systems as “loops"; the importance of resiliency in response to climate change; and the reforms in federal, state, and private funding mechanisms that can facilitate water infrastructure financing.  An event summary is also available here.

Aerial image of the Oroville Dam
The Oroville Dam spillway, which developed fissures after heavy rains in the winter of 2017. Photo by California Department of Water Resources.

Together with Stanford Law School and Water in the West, the Bill Lane Center for the American West is pleased to host a workshop on Planning for America's Water Infrastructure Needs.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that the U.S. would need to invest $3.6 trillion into its infrastructure by 2020 in order to increase the nation’s support systems to acceptable levels. Capital investments in the nation’s waterway and storm water systems are estimated at nearly $300 billion over the next 20 years.  Recent water-related crises such as at Oroville Dam, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and in Flint, Michigan highlight the urgency.

This workshop will review the challenges in aging water infrastructure and highlight possible policy options at the federal, state and local levels for further research and/or decision-maker consideration.

Invitations are non-transferable. Invited guests are asked to RSVP using this form.

Working Agenda

Monday, February 5

2:30 PM- 3:00 PM

Conference Overview and Introductions

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Panel 1: Overview and Statement of the Challenges

This panel will review and discuss the current state of water infrastructure and some of the challenges for developing solutions.

Moderator: LTG (Ret.) Tom Bostick, Former Chief of Engineers
Greg DiLoreto, Chair, ASCE Committee on America's Infrastructure
Grant Davis, Sonoma County Water Agency
Major General Ed Jackson, US Army Corps of Engineers

5:15 PM Transport to dinner on California Avenue
6:00 PM

Opening Dinner

Keynote speaker: Pat Mulroy (Brookings Institution)

7:45 PM Transportation back to hotel

Tuesday, February 6

8:30 AM Transportation from hotel to campus
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Panel 2: Rethinking Water Infrastructure

This panel will discuss water infrastructure from a systems perspective and consider how to provide greater resilience and sustainability and reduce energy usage and cost in the next generation of infrastructure.

Moderator: Buzz Thompson, Stanford University
Dick Luthy, Stanford University
Heather Cooley, Pacific Institute
Martha Davis, Inland Empire Utilities Agency

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM


10:45 AM – 12:15 PM

Panel 3: Planning Water Infrastructure in an Age of Climate Change

This panel will discuss the impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and increased risk of extreme weather events, on the planning of water infrastructure, including issues such as vulnerability and risk assessments, adaptation of aging infrastructure, incorporating uncertainty into decision-making, and regulatory implications.

Moderator: Leon Szeptycki, Stanford University
Noah Diffenbaugh, Stanford University
Max Gomberg, California State Water Resources Control Board
Kate White, US Army Corps of Engineers

12:15 PM – 1:30 PM


Speaker: Ted Bardacke , Los Angeles Mayor's Office

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Panel 4: Financing New Initiatives

This panel will discuss the funding challenges for the government and innovative solutions that are necessary.

Moderator: Michael Bennon, Stanford University
Ali Zaidi, Stanford Precourt Energy Scholar
Patricia Buckley, Deloitte Research, Deloitte Services LP
Michael Connor, former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Interior

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Panel 5: Overlapping Roles and Responsibilities

This panel will brainstorm a systems approach in thinking through the planning, funding and policies that allows for storm and sewer systems to operate effectively with coastal and or riverine water infrastructure when necessary. 

Moderator: Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University
Steve Stockton, US Army Corps of Engineers Mike Mierzwa, California Department of Water Resources Ray Levitt, Stanford University Newsha Ajami, Stanford University

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Next Steps

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Closing Reception

Travel Information for Attendees

Note: By University Policy, to be Reimbursed, Traveler’s Origin Must Be at Least 50 Miles from Stanford

Stanford will be reimbursing you for your airfare to and from SFO or SJC, and ground transportation to/from the hotel and airport. Please forward your flight receipt to Thu Nguyen (thunguye [at] (thunguye[at]stanford[dot]edu)) by Friday, January 12, 2018 at 3:00 PM PST.

During the conference, your meals, hotel accommodation, and transportation to/from the University have already been arranged. There is no need to rent a car.

To receive your full reimbursement, we need your help ensuring compliance with Stanford’s travel policies: 

  • Please book the lowest economy, nonstop flight available.
    • Note: SJC and SFO are equidistant to the university and conference hotel.
    • The conference begins Monday, February 5 at 2:00 PM and concludes on Tuesday, February 6 at 6:00 PM.
    • If you are unable to book an evening return flight on Tuesday, February 6, please let Thu know ASAP. We will do our best to assist with your travel planning.
    • Stanford’s policies prohibit us from reimbursing for change fees, checked luggage and alcohol on your flights.
  • Please save all itemized receipts for ground transportation (taxi, Uber/Lyft, etc).
    • Tips cannot exceed 20%.
    • Email receipts to (thunguye [at] (thunguye[at]stanford[dot]edu)) at the end of the conference.
  • One night of hotel accommodation has been reserved for you on Monday evening, February 5 at the Creekside Inn in Palo Alto.

The moderator of your panel will be getting in touch to schedule a pre-panel call to coordinate the content of your session.

Contact Phone Number