Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Lauren Patterson

Senior Fellow


Lauren Patterson is a Senior Fellow at the Nicholas Institute where her career has focused on bringing together data to understand the impacts and effectiveness of policies and management efforts on water resources. Policy questions include exploring the impact of: floodplain policy on development, different financing mechanisms to generate sustainable revenue for watershed protection, surface water withdrawals on aquatic species, changes in the energy sector on water withdrawals, and the performance of reservoir operations under changing environmental, societal, and regulatory conditions. Lauren is a co-organizer and rapporteur of the annual Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum, which brings together some of the world’s foremost thought leaders each year around the future of water and where the idea for an Internet of Water first originated in 2015. Lauren is also a co-founder of the Internet of Water project. Lauren’s previous work experience includes time at RTI and the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Chapel Hill (UNC). Despite entirely lacking a sense of direction, she has a Ph.D. in geography from UNC.

Lauren is passionate about visualizing and communicating data and information in a manner that resonates with stakeholders and can help generate new conversations around an issue. If you would like to explore some of these visualizations you can! Have fun looking at how reservoirs are adapting to changing conditions and how unconventional oil and gas development impacts water withdrawals and road infrastructure.

Lauren recommends:

The Water Values Podcast by Dave McGimpsey. Dave has insightful and down-to-earth conversations with different experts and thought leaders to explore a variety of current and emerging topics in and around water.