The American West is an arid region to begin with; explo­sive growth and increased drought are creating a water cri­sis. Research can help solve this crisis, but research alone is not enough. Stanford University established Water in the West in 2010 to create new practical solutions that move the region toward a more sustainable water future. Water in the West marshals the resources of one of the world’s preemi­nent research institutions to address one of the most urgent questions about the West’s future— how can the region continue to thrive despite growing water scarcity?

The program bridges the gap between research and practice to create and promote the adoption of effective solutions to the threat of water scarcity in the American West. Program staff and researchers  envision a world, in the near future, where water is managed in a way that satisfies urban demands, fulfills the needs of agricultural production, and restores ecosystems – free from the conflict common in the history of western water allocation. Water in the West pursues this mission through cutting-edge research, creative problem solving, active collaboration with decision-makers and opinion leaders, effective public communications and hands-on education of students, the “next generation of problem solvers. This way, the program works to achieve more effective water management for both today and the future.

Current areas of focus include sustainable groundwater, water and energy, watershed health and water management and allocation. 

Water in the West is a joint program with the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University.

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