Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
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ISSUE

Water Policy

As populations grow and the climate changes, competition for water resources is increasing.

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions’ Water Policy Program is an interdisciplinary effort focused on utilizing data to inform effective policy changes in how water is understood and managed. These efforts span understanding to increase water-management flexibility for reservoirs under a changing climate and to develop market-based approaches for water allocation.

The program also partners annually to host the Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum, jointly convened by the Aspen Institute's Energy and Environment Program and Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. The forum serves as a platform for addressing domestic water challenges in the 21st century—from the drought in California to the need for policy solutions that address water trading opportunities—and to develop forward-thinking pathways to improve our water system, including the Internet of Water.

Projects

Internet of Water

The water data infrastructure in the United States is antiquated and increasingly inadequate for the 21st century. While water data have been collected by federal, state, and local agencies for decades, much of it is not open—meaning discoverable, accessible, and usable.

Reservoirs

The majority of United States reservoirs were constructed when climate was thought to be unchanging and past precipitation and temperatures were reliable for predicting future conditions.

Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum

The Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum, convened annually by the Aspen Institute’s Energy and Environment Program and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, serves as a platform for addressing domestic water challenges in the 21st century.

Unconventional Oil and Gas Development

The rapid growth of unconventional oil and gas, also referred to as hydraulic fracturing, transformed the energy landscape. New areas became sites of energy extraction, such as the Marcellus Shale Play in Pennsylvania and the Bakken Play in North Dakota.