The Center initiates projects and responds to requests for technical assistance. Each project is tailored to meet the specific situation and needs of the people involved, and may range from short consultations to one-time meetings to multi-year negotiations.

2nd Arab Water Forum

At the request of the Arab Water Council, the Center served as part of the “general rapporteur” team at the 2nd Arab Water Forum in Cairo, Egypt. The Forum was convened in November 2011 and included nearly 400 people from over 20 Arab countries. The 4-day event included plenary speeches, break-out sessions, and several informal dialogues.

The final outcome of the Forum includes the Cairo Declaration, which presents a water agenda for the Arab region.

While water issues in the Arab region may seem to have little relevance to water issues in Montana and the US American West, in fact there are tremendous opportunities for mutual learning. The Center will continue to work with the Arab Water Council to explore opportunities to share research, education, and policy responses to increasing water scarcity.

6th World Water Forum

The World Water Forum is the largest gathering in the world focused on water use, management, and policy. It meets every three years, and regularly engages 25,000 people from every corner of the globe in a week of dialogue on issues ranging from the right to water and sanitation, the impacts of climate change on water resources, and alternative governance arrangements – among many other topics.

Since spring 2011, the Center has been working with the Secretariat of the 6th World Water Forum – which will be convened in March 2012 in Marseille, France — to (1) mobilize and engage political and water leaders from the U.S. American West; and (2) prepare a policy report that tells the story of innovative solutions and institutional responses to water problems in the U.S. American West.

Integrating Land and Water Decisions

Despite the obvious relationship between where and how people live and the water they need to do so, our institutions have been slow to encourage decision makers to think about land and water use together and to engage in a dialogue with affected publics about the consequences of those decisions. The dual pressures of population growth and climate change (along with impacts of energy production) are prompting a more urgent look at this connection.

Since 2007, the Center has played a prominent role in highlighting strategies to integrate land use and water arising throughout the country. The Center has published two widely distributed policy reports on this subject, as well as professional articles, op-eds aimed at a more general audience, and chapters in books.  Center staff frequently are asked to speak to groups of land use planners, water mangers, and policy leaders on this subject. Senior Fellow Sarah Bates is pursuing these and related topics as a project team member of the Carpe Diem West network on climate change and water, including policy work focused on emerging headwaters partnerships between the Forest Service, nongovernmental organizations, and urban water suppliers.

Universities Consortium on Columbia River Governance

The Columbia River basin is the fourth largest river basin in North America, including parts of Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, Washington, Alberta, and British Columbia. It has ten times the flow of the Colorado River and is one of the most hydroelectrically developed river systems in the world. While this infrastructure has generated many benefits in the form of power and flood control, many people argue that it has adversely impacted fish, navigation, irrigation, recreation, and indigenous cultures.

Recognizing the need for dialogue among tribes, stakeholders, government officials, and researchers throughout the transboundary Columbia River basin, the Center – along with colleagues from the University of British Columbia, Oregon State University, University of Idaho, and Washington State University — co-founded the consortium in 2008

The consortium provides a neutral forum to facilitate informed dialogue on the Columbia River Treaty and related issues. It convenes an annual symposium and engages graduate students in exploring alternative scenarios on how to revise and update the Treaty.