While many parts of the Northwestern U.S. enjoy a reputation for plentiful water resources, many regions are now near, or at full, appropriation and live year-round with water shortages. Additionally, historical water allocations, growth, aging infrastructure, urbanization, and new regulatory frameworks, combined with changing climate conditions, are creating new water demands. Together, these factors present unique opportunities for large-scale, long-term regional water supply initiatives. Unfortunately, state and federal policies afford little access or opportunity to implement new ideas, or they add regulatory hurdles that make it more difficult for regions to implement solutions.
In this session, participants will discuss how to break through this logjam by fostering collaboratively designed, place-based, stakeholder-supported water management plans. Using sound ecological, economic, and sociological data, communities are demonstrating that finding common ground on water management that benefits both people and nature is not only possible, but as we wrestle with the realities of living with water scarcity, it is essential.