Water Policy Program News

Deep in the Grand Canyon, Scientists Struggle to Bring Back the Bugs

A hydroelectric dam disrupted the intricate food web of the Colorado River. Now a ragtag team of researchers and river guides are trying to repair it. In UnDark magazine the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Martin Doyle writes about how deep in the Grand Canyon scientists struggle to bring back the bugs

The Rich History of America’s Rivers

American rivers from the mighty Mississippi on down have changed the way Americans works, play and live. In an interview with WBUR On Point, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Water Policy Program director Martin Doyle discusses that rich history featured in his new book “The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers."

Review: Building ‘The Source’ of America’s Cash Flows and Liquid Assets

"Why is it,” Martin Doyle, director of the Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and author of the new book "The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers" asks, “that sewers are often at the cutting edge in finance?” The question isn’t meant as a slur on the financial industry but as testimony to the oversized but underrated role that waterworks have played in the economic annals of the United States. A Wall Street Journal article reviewing the book offers that throughout history our penchant for big-ticket water projects—canals, dams, waste-treatment plants, the wholesale engineering of rivers—has altered the course of public finance and even shifted the balance of power among federal, state and local governments.

Data Infrastructure Investments Could Increase Effectiveness of Reservoir Management

One of the largest repositories of historic reservoir data in the United States is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Its districts have been amassing data on hundreds of reservoirs for decades, but, like many other water data gathers in the United States, it cannot always use its own information to support broad-scale decision making. In a new report by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Lauren Patterson and Martin Doyle of the Nicholas Institute and Samantha Kuzma of the World Resources Institute point out that the federalist structure of the Army Corps and other U.S. agencies has often led to wide variation in data management, requiring development of protocols for standardizing and integrating those data. Pointing out that water management transcends political boundaries—requiring data sharing within and between agencies at the scale of watersheds or river basins—they describe the challenges of and opportunities for using the Army Corps’ historic reservoir data to understand how reservoirs are performing as environmental and societal needs change.

3 Ways the Course of Water Sustainability Changed in 2017

In Greenbiz, Will Sarni writes that the word of the year in the world of water is digital. Digital technologies are gaining ground in the water sector and addressing a range of issues. Adoption of digital technologies is accompanied by an increased recognition that access to water data and analytics is essential to better inform public policies and business decisions. He notes that efforts to improve access to water data and actionable information is gaining support, mentioning the "Internet of Water" report by the Aspen Institute and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions that makes this case. 

Is An 'Open Internet' Needed For Water Data?

Water Online reports that researchers at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute are trying to improve the availability of water quality data by proposing an “open internet of water.”

Dialogue Series Sets Internet of Water in Motion

Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute partnered with the Redstone Strategy Group to convene a dialogue series in 2016 and 2017. The goal: to formulate a national digital water data and information policy framework for sharing, integrating, and disseminating public data to characterize and forecast the quantity, quality, and uses of water across the United States, writes CleanTechnica.

Global Alliance Releases New Tools to Guide Evidence-based Solutions Across Health, Development, and Environment

The Bridge Collaborative, a global alliance of 90 organizations from 23 countries, today released two new tools to assist decision-makers solving big challenges facing health, development, and the environment. The Bridge Collaborative Practitioner’s Guide on Principles and Guidance for Cross-sector Action Planning and Evidence Evaluation and the policy-focused Call to Action for Health, Environment, and Development Leaders were developed to accelerate progress toward building a shared, cross-sector evidence base that informs strategies, shapes policies, and directs funding decisions to achieve concrete solutions.

Lake St. Clair SMART Water Initiative Launches To Collaborate On Critical Technology

A consortium of some of technology’s brightest minds has been assembled to share critical data to address Lake St. Clair’s environmental challenges. The goal of this initiative is to develop a systematic approach to addressing lake issues, while creating the tools to provide a better understanding of lake dynamics and the land-water interface at the watershed scale. Dubbed the Lake St. Clair SMART Water Initiative, the consortium is led by startup CitiesRising Technologies and includes the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, the Institute of Water Research at Michigan State University, the Aspen Institute, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, Microsoft, and ESRI.

Researchers Propose an Open ‘Internet of Water’ Tracking Use, Quality and Costs

TechCrunch reports on work by researchers from Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute that looks to develop a shared, open internet of water. With natural disasters like droughts and flooding, and with man-made problems like overcrowded cities and factory runoff, the water system is frequently overtaxed and understudied. Local authorities and utilities produce reams of data on use, but there is little in the way of national databases, let alone standardized, open datasets. “Our water world is data rich, but information poor,” explains Martin Doyle, of Duke’s Nicholas Institute. “If water data were shared openly and then integrated in a common digital platform, there would be game-changing opportunities ranging from private citizens’ ability to gauge the quality of local water to public officials’ ability to warn populations of water-borne public health hazards.”