The Horizon Program is Carpe Diem West’s innovation lab. We tap into the expertise of our network to assess new climate and water information, emerging threats and opportunities.

All of our current programs started this way: network participants had a collective idea, a spark, a brainstorm. Together, we went exploring.

The projects below came out of the work of the Horizon Program, and the learning and results incorporated into Carpe Diem West’s work.

Colorado River Futures

Forty million people, 5.5 million acres of farmland, diverse wildlife and aquatic species depend on the Colorado River. There are no substitutes for this river.

In the mainstem of the Colorado River, 85% of the water comes off of 15% of the Basin’s land mass – almost all of which is forested headwaters. We believe that a headwaters-focused approach is an essential strategy for ensuring a resilient future for Colorado flows.

Over the past five years, Carpe Diem West’s collaboration of Colorado River Basin leaders has helped develop the understanding that a basin-wide approach is necessary for the many innovative solutions that must be implemented at scale.

Because of Carpe Diem West, and it’s positive, broad reaching safe table, new perspectives are being brought to the forefront under a cover for those at the table looking for ideas but perhaps uncomfortable at putting them out there.

– Eric Kuhn General Manager, Colorado River Water Conservation District

Water, Energy & Climate Change (2009-2011)

Carpe Diem West’s Water, Energy & Climate Change Project was based on the recognition that no integrated strategy has been yet developed for coordinating water and energy planning – particularly in the area of the potential impacts of energy infrastructure on the West’s water supplies.

This Project’s central goal was to inform and encourage national, regional, and state policies that address this gap, and to promote aggressive investments in conservation and efficiency in both water and energy.

Convening Summary

A thing I love about Carpe Diem West is that it already connects water and climate change, and I think we need to continually talk about this connection. I also like the kind of people Carpe Diem West pulls together - it's a collage of experienced, smart folks trying to get their heads around these issues. Carpe Diem West functions as a catalyst, which is huge!

- Rick Cables, Retired Regional Forester, Rocky Mountain Region, US Forest service, Vail Associates


Climate Chaos and Local Resilience: Water solutions in the American West

Carpe Diem West celebrates 10 years by releasing this beautiful interactive report. Click Download -  then click on the photo to see the report in full!  


Mapping the River Ahead: Priorities for Action Beyond the Colorado River Basin Study

Mapping the River Ahead documents the concerns of some Colorado River thought leaders and their ideas about potential solutions to challenges facing Basin water users. It provides a useful compilation of perceptions and suggestions gleaned from one-on-one interviews, and points out consistencies of approach that may not be evident in more public discussions.  March 2014


New Visions, Smart Choices: Western Water Security in a Changing Climate

Spotlights successful, sustainable and economically sensible steps ten communities are taking to make sure they will have water in the decades to come. Published April, 2013


Stakeholder Option Submitted to the Bureau of Reclamation

The purpose of this option is to establish an informal governance mechanism by which a broad range of non-governmental stakeholders can engage with each other with regard to long-term, basin-scale solutions for water supply and management challenges in the Colorado River Basin, and provide collective input into formal governmental decision making processes. Feb. 2012


Governing Like A River Basin: Options for Expanded Stakeholder Engagement in the Colorado River Basin

With cities, farms, and industry across seven states competing over river flows that are dwindling due to climate change, the Colorado River Basin faces some serious long-term problems. This Policy Brief by Carpe Diem West & The University of Montana examines four examples of stakeholder engagement processes that have successfully been used in large U.S. river basins facing long-term resource management challenges and discusses how these models might be used in conjunction with the Bureau of Reclamation’s Basin Study to build consensus for a set of long-term solutions to the water management challenges facing the Colorado River. December 2011


Thinking Like a River Basin - Leaders' Perspectives on Options and Opportunities in Colorado River Management

Carpe Diem West & The University of Montana conducted confidential interviews with a broad cross-section of the Colorado Basin water community. It provides a fascinating look at how basin leaders view the problems facing the Colorado River over the next 15 years, as well as potential solutions. The report paints a portrait of a river basin and a leadership community at a crossroads. April 2011


Peak Water, Peak Energy, Climate Crisis: The Collision Ahead - Convening Summary

The Carpe Diem Western Water and Climate Change Project held a water, energy, and climate change convening with key policy and practical leadership from both the water and energy worlds. The group met on March 4 and 5, 2010, in San Francisco to examine the underlying scientific issues, discuss gaps and barriers in the policy framework, and highlight opportunities for action. February 2010


Peak Water, Peak Energy, Climate Crisis: The Collision Ahead - Policy Brief

This Carpe Diem - Western Water & Climate Change Project policy brief explores the policy implications arising out of the dynamic relationship between climate change, energy, and water played out across a western landscape that will also experience significant demographic changes. February 2010