Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Bringing an Economic Focus to our Nation’s Water Challenges: An RFF Water Initiative

Date and Time
Friday, March 22, 2019 - 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Field Auditorium, Grainger Hall (formerly Environment Hall), 9 Circuit Drive, Durham, North Carolina


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Ann M. Bartuska, Vice President for Land, Water, and nature at Resources for the Future, will present "Bringing an Economic Focus to our Nation’s Water Challenges: An RFF Water Initiative" on Friday, March 22, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. EST in Duke University's Grainger Hall, Room 2102.

As Resources for the Future (RFF) began thinking about the development of a water resources initiative, we recognized that there were many directions we could take with our research and engagement, based on our current expertise. There is a criticality in defining the what around water resources in order to sufficiently narrow the scope of research and analysis.  Through a roundtable process in five cities across the country, we hoped to identify the most important issues where RFF’s environmental economics expertise could enable policy, business, and industrial leaders to make better decisions on water resources management.
Each roundtable had its own flavor, influenced by the participants and the region, yet there was remarkable consistency in the issues raised. In every roundtable and many interviews, participants raised concern about the fragmentation in the governance of water, with questions centered on the appropriate scale for water management and the benefits of consolidated management of water types (stormwater, drinking water, wastewater) and location (watershed rather than localities). Participants showed keen interest in quantifying the benefits of different approaches to water access, affordability, and equity; watershed protection and resilience; agricultural water use; green, distributed, and source watershed infrastructure; water markets, allocations, and efficiency; and demand management and forecasting.  RFF will build on these ideas to establish partnerships with those already working on these issues to accelerate progress, identify where can RFF initiate study, and seek sources of funding for this important work.

This talk is part of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the University Program in Environmental Policy seminar series featuring leading experts discussing a variety of pressing environmentally focused topics. This talk is also sponsored by the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Sanford School for Public Policy.