Watershed Health

Water in the West seeks to address a central question: can we satisfy growing urban demand for water, maintain existing agricultural production, and sustain rural communities, while at the same time restoring rivers and protecting a growing recreational economy? Allocating water and water rights to accomplish these goals will require better science, policies, practices, and decision-making. 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.

What's New

February 19, 2016

We are excited to welcome three talented new postdoctoral scholars to Water in the West: Esther Conrad, Ben Bryant, and Sibyl Diver. Since arriving in September of 2015, Esther, who is also with Stanford Law School’s...

April 02, 2015

The snowpack in California's mountains is at the lowest level ever recorded. The long-term effects of the drought could be devastating. Frank Gehrke, left, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program...

In Focus

Environmental Water Rights Transfers: A Review of State Laws

A new report from Water in the West explores how Western states can increase water rights transfers to maintain healthy flows for ecosystems while benefiting water rights holders.

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In the Media

September 13, 2015
San Francisco Chronicle

"If you’re out shopping for water, it’s not like you can go to the commodity exchange in Chicago and simply buy water,” says Leon Szeptycki, executive director of Water in the West. “Barriers need to be removed.” Nevertheless, he warns that regulation must ensure water for impoverished communities . At the same time, government needs to protect the environment, ensuring that water sellers don't deplete surface water and thereby harm wildlife.

May 14, 2015

California's first come, first served, water-rights system is about to be tested. Prof Barton "Buzz" Thompson weighs in.