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The Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security

[Note: This high-powered NGO does extensive work on natural resource, economic and social issues. Below we present excerpts from its webpage describing the organization, their program in Water and Sustainability, and three of their key reports on regional water issues. Consult the Institute's webpage for details, including a list of it's numerous publications, some available free of charge. The Institute has recently initiated a Colorado River Delta and Upper Gulf Restoration Project, to identify and analyze opportunities for delta restoration and develop strategies for implementing them. S.Hurlbert, SDSU ]

About the Pacific Institute

The Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security is an independent, non-profit center created in 1987 to do research and policy analysis in the areas of environment, sustainable development, and international security. Underlying all of the Institute's work is the recognition that the pressing problems of environmental degradation, regional and global poverty, and political tension and conflict are fundamentally interrelated, and that long-term solutions must consider these issues in an interdisciplinary manner. The Pacific Institute addresses the breadth and long-term nature of both problems and necessary solutions. The Institute strives to improve policy through sound research and consistent dialogue with action-oriented groups from the international to local level.

 Water and Sustainability

The Institute conducts a wide range of research in the area of global and regional freshwater resources. The Water and Sustainability program integrates several major projects of the Institute to address crucial international and domestic freshwater issues, ranging from definitions of sustainable water use, evaluations of water requirements for food production, estimates of minimum water requirements, and assessments of connections between water and human and ecosystem health. Our goals are: (1) to do focused research into the complexity of definitions of the sustainable use of water; (2) to characterize and quantify "sustainable" water use for different sectors, in different regions of the world; and (3) to bring together researchers and activists under our successful, ongoingcollaborative research program to meet and debate these questions.

Water Transfers in California: A Framework for Sustainability and Justice

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Ensuring an adequate water supply in California's future will involve balancing competing interests in the agricultural, urban, and environmental sectors. Any solution to the problem of meeting changing demands will necessarily hinge on the understanding that water is a shared community resource vital to fulfilling individual and public values that must be managed sustainably and equitably. This paper reviews the applicability of the market model to finding such a solution and recommends an alternative strategy involving institutional reform.

California Water 2020: A Sustainable Vision

[The San Francisco Chronicle called this report "an encouraging, doable blueprint for achieving a goal that has eluded the state's various water warriors for decades -- a sustainable balance between water supply and demand." June 1, 1995 lead editorial.]

INTRODUCTION: California's water future depends on choices that are being made now or must be made within the next few years. It is increasingly obvious that the water policies that helped the state to become the agricultural and economic giant it is today are not up to the challenges of the 21st century. Yet those responsible for managing and protecting the state's freshwater resources continue to plan on the basis of outdated and inappropriate assumptions. This new report -- released in June 1995 -- is the result of a year-long investigation into California's water future. It presents a unique vision of a truly sustainable water future and discusses ways to realize such a vision.

The Sustainable Use of Water in the Lower Colorado River Basin

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Water is a prerequisite for life, and a key ingredient in vitually all human economic activity. In regions where demands for water approach or exceed limits of available supplies, competition intensifies among various interests - turning water scarcity into a potential souce of conflict. Scarcity often also results in unhealthy aquatic ecosystems because of alterations in the timing, quantity, and quality of fresh water flows needed to sustain their natural functions. This ecological degradation, in turn, spawns a variety of undesirable economic and social effects.

The lower basin of the Colorado River is a prime example of the consequences and challenges impossed by increasing water scarcity. The aim of this study - a joint project of the Pacific Institute in Development, Environment and Security and the Global Water Policy Project - is to clarify key concepts and criteria for sustainable water use within the Colorado basin, and then, using those criteria, to present patterns of water use, allocation, and management that can continue to support economic properity while maintaining ecological integrity.

We do not presume to offer a single or best solution to water problems in the lower Colorado basin. Rather, our goal is to define - both quantitatively and qualitatively- the unsustainable nature of current patterns of water use, and to demonstrate how technologies, policy actions, and management strategies can be combined to achieve more sustainable water use. While it is up to the region's stakeholders to reach sonsensus on a vision for future water use in the basin, we are convinced that the basic principles of efficiency, equity, and ecosystem integrity offer the best guidance toward redukcing socio-political conflict and ecological degradation over the long term. We believe that the concepts, analytical approach, and broad findings of this case study can provide insight into sustainable river basin management worldwide.