Laura Briefer is Director for Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities (SLCDPU), a municipal water supplier responsible for the provision of drinking water to more than 349,000 people in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah. SLCDPU also manages wastewater and stormwater for Salt Lake City. Ms. Briefer has worked at SLCDPU for seven years, and has 20 years experience in natural resource and environmental professions in the public and private sectors. She has a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Utah.
The headwaters of the Wasatch Mountains provide 60% of Salt Lake City’s water supply. One of Ms. Briefer’s most critical responsibilities is the direction of the protection and management of these watersheds to ensure water resources are protected. Over the last several years, Ms. Briefer and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker have worked to further protect the Wasatch headwaters through the Mountain Accord process. The first phase of this process, a substantial negotiation between more than 25 stakeholders and significant public input, resulted in the signing of an Accord. The implementation of the Accord has broad support, with the first priority being the introduction of federal legislation to permanently protect the Wasatch Mountain watersheds.
The Healthy Headwaters team of Carpe Diem West is invaluable to efforts for headwaters protection and management in the Wasatch Mountains. Information and perspective from team members contribute great value to Salt Lake City’s actions and policy on watershed issues such as land conservation and stewardship, federal agency coordination, fire management, vulnerability assessments, and the dissemination of information to the public regarding watershed protection.
Ms. Briefer serves on the Board of Directors of Carpe Diem West. She is a co-author of one journal article presenting climate modeling results for Salt Lake City’s watersheds, and has presented regionally and nationally on topics concerning climate change, watershed protection, and water resources.