Reports

Your resource for reports on key issues and opportunities in western water management. Explore the policy implications arising out of the dynamic relationship between climate change and water played out across a western landscape through policy briefs and leadership convenings. We also share stories about innovation and success in climate adaptation.

  • Healthy Headwaters
  • Public Health
  • Success Stories
  • Leadership Convenings
  • Horizons

VIP Analysis

Carpe Diem West put together a team of experts to assist Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) in analyzing the outcomes and lessons learned of their McKenzie Watershed Voluntary Incentives Program pilot project (VIP). Our team made recommendations specific to EWEB, but also identified elements of the program that could be transferred to other watersheds and characteristics of communities that would be likely candidates for a VIP program of their own. We know there are members in our network who are looking to adopt similar programs and could benefit from the insights into EWEB’s VIP –  read the report below!

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Healthy Headwaters Eleventh Leadership Convening Summary - Salt Lake City, Utah

At our Eleventh convening  June 3, 2016, Carpe Diem West convened scientists, policy makers, water managers, and leaders from NGOs, philanthropic organizations, and the private sector. We met in Salt Lake City, Utah, home of the recently signed Mountain Accord, a comprehensive and holistic approach that addresses four areas of concern - environment, recreation, transportation, and economics – to create consensus around solutions that will stand the test of time. Read the key take-aways below. June 2016

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Healthy Headwaters Alliance - 2016 Policy Platform Update

The updated Policy Platform identifies three frameworks for new policies that could be enacted in a fairly short period of time.  February 2016

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Healthy Headwaters Alliance Policy Platform Criteria

The updated Healthy Headwaters Policy Platform companion piece on criteria we will use to assess proposed legislation or policies. While the Healthy Headwaters Alliance does not advocate for specific legislation, as opportunities arise we do use our criteria to provide thoughtful commentary to interested parties.  November 2015

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Healthy Headwaters Tenth Leadership Convening Summary - Eugene, Oregon

At its tenth convening the Healthy Headwaters Leadership Team and invited Western Water Leaders discussed next steps for restoring and protecting headwaters and water supply in the American West. The meeting summary covers some of the key points. October 2015

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Watershed Investment Programs - Updates From the Field

This briefing paper looks at six key western communities and what they are doing to protect their watersheds and water supply. April 2015

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Healthy Headwaters Ninth Leadership Convening Summary - Albuquerque, NM

Carpe Diem West's convening November 14, 2014, brought more than 60 leaders in the public, private, NGO, and scientific sectors to examine how to best preserve and restore the high elevation watersheds that are the source of most of the water in the American West. This Ninth Healthy Headwaters Leadership Convening, held in Albuquerque, focused on opportunities to strengthen local and regional partnerships that support water source protection and advance the key reasons for headwaters restoration in the time of a changing climate.

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Success Story! Salt Lake City, UT - Remembering Our Relationship with Our Watershed

Salt Lake City sprawls across the valley floor below the towering mountains of the Wasatch Front. In addition to a stunning backdrop and world-class recreation, the 11,000-feet-high peaks provide clean, reliable water supplies to growing population of more than a half million people. This water comes almost entirely from melting snow—a virtual reservoir high in the mountains. Unfortunately, that reservoir is vulnerable to the impacts of a warming climate, which means more precipitation falling as rain in the winter, less reliable snowpack, and earlier, more rapid runoff in the spring. These changes could cause the city to face serious shortages and water quality problems in late summer and fall. June, 2014

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Healthy Headwaters Eighth Leadership Convening Summary - Salt Lake City, UT

At its eighth convening held in December 2013, the Healthy Headwaters Leadership Team and invited guests developed the Watershed Investment Network initiative, a resource to assist western communities in securing the funding and policies necessary to allow for large-scale restoration investments in at-risk watersheds.

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Watershed Investment Network - Assessment to Action

The Watershed Investment Network initiative is developing the resources to assist western communities in securing the funding and policies necessary to allow for large-scale restoration investments in at-risk watersheds. Fall 2013

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Healthy Headwaters Seventh Leadership Convening Summary - Sacramento, CA

This convening held May 16, 2013 in Sacramento focused on the evolving policy scaffolding for investment in green infrastructure, headwaters protection and downstream water security, and the innovations needed to better support these efforts.

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Healthy Headwaters Sixth Leadership Convening Summary - Portland, OR

Carpe Diem West's Sixth convening was held November, 2012. This summary focuses on the emerging political landscape for opportunities for investment in green infrastructure, headwaters protection and downstream water security.

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Healthy Headwaters Alliance Policy Platform

The Policy Platform lays the foundation for the Healthy Headwaters Alliance’s support of community-level headwater protection work, both through the effective use of existing programs and the development of new programs and policies designed to promote healthy, resilient headwaters systems. May 2012

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Healthy Headwaters Fifth Leadership Convening Summary - Phoenix, AZ

Carpe Diem West’s Healthy fifth convening was held on On April 27, 2012.  An invited leadership group from this stakeholder network addressed crucial emerging issues in creating resilient watersheds and water security in the American West in a time of climate change.

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Testimony Before the United States Congress

Carpe Diem West submitted testimony to call the Congress’s attention to vital headwaters and watershed protection and restoration work that communities around the West are undertaking in partnership with federal agencies in order to protect their water supplies, and to emphasize the crucial role that continued federal investments play in supporting that work. February 2012

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Watershed Investment Programs in the American West

This report provides more complete and up-to-date information on existing watershed investment programs across the West, identifies some communities and watersheds that could be fertile ground for new programs, and discusses some fundamental questions that merit careful consideration by policy makers, water utilities and public land managers as these programs develop and expand in the future. November 2011

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Success Story! Santa Fe, NM - Sustaining the Watershed

More than a third of the municipal water supply for Santa Fe’s 80,000 residents comes from the Santa Fe River, which flows from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains just east of town. Most of the river’s watershed lies in the Santa Fe National Forest, including 10,000 acres within the Pecos Wilderness Area. Threats to watersheds come in many forms, but in the Southwest the one that rises to the top of the list is catastrophic wildfire. A series of large-scale fires has struck the region’s ponderosa pine forests recently: the 48,000-acre Cerro Grande fire in northern New Mexico 2000, two fires in eastern Arizona— the 468,000-acre Rodeo-Chediski fire in 2005 and the the 538,000-acre Wallow Fire in 2011—and the 150,000-acre Las Conchas Fire, which burned 60 percent of the Bandelier National Monument in 2011.

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Success Story! Denver, CO - Seeing the Forest for the Water

Denver’s skyline features the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains, which provide essential drinking water supplies to this large and fast-growing metropolitan area. The Forest Service describes the Colorado Rockies, which form the headwaters for seven major U.S. river systems as the nation’s water towers. The forested watersheds that are the heart and soul of those water towers are at increasing risk from catastrophic wildfires on a scale far beyond what they experienced under natural conditions. Fuel buildup, from century of fire suppression and in some cases infestations of bark beetles resulting from a warming climate mean that Colorado’s forests are primed to burn. Oct, 2011

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Success Story! Eugene, OR - Giving Back to the Watershed

The city of Eugene, Oregon, is located in the scenic McKenzie River Valley at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers. The 200,000 residents of the Eugene metro area depend on the McKenzie River as their sole source of drinking water. About three-fourths of the watershed is in public ownership (mostly National Forest land), but most of the valuable riparian corridors are private—devoted largely to farms and forest products. As the agency responsible for delivering clean water to residents of Eugene, the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) takes a long view of watershed health. EWEB Drinking Water Source Protection Coordinator, Karl Morgenstern describes it simply: “Utilities have to look ahead 50-100 years, and that means looking at the impacts of climate change”. In the McKenzie watershed, those privately held riparian lands will provide valuable buffers against flooding, erosion, increased water temperature, and other expected changes, but only if they remain essentially undeveloped. Oct, 2011

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Healthy Headwaters Fourth Leadership Convening Summary - Oakland, CA

Carpe Diem West’s fourth Healthy Headwaters convening was held in October, 2011. An invited leadership group from water utilities, conservation NGOs, government, and the scientific community addressed emerging issues arising in their work to create resilient watersheds and water security in the American West in a time of climate change.

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Healthy Headwaters Third Leadership Convening Summary - Denver, CO

Carpe Diem West's third Healthy Headwaters Leadership convening was held on March 25, 2011. The  convening summary focuses on how Carpe Diem West can support successful headwaters programs across the West, and strengthen its unusual alliance of leaders that form the core constituency for headwaters protection.

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User Contribution Programs - Linking Upstream Watershed Health to the Hearts, Minds & Wallets of Downstream Water Users

This Carpe Diem West Report provides a snapshot look at some leading Western examples of user contribution programs. These are innovative approaches that cities, utilities, and resort owners are employing as a means of having downstream water users help pay the cost of managing the health of the upstream watersheds that supply them with reliable supplies of clean water. October 2010

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Literature Review - The Economic Value of Water and Watersheds on National Forest Lands in the US

Prepared for Carpe Diem West's September 2010 Healthy Headwaters meeting. Alison Berry/Sonoran Institute

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Bibliography - The Economic Value of Water & Watersheds on National Forest Lands in the US

Prepared for Carpe Diem West's September 2010 Healthy Headwaters meeting. Alison Berry/Sonoran Institute

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Healthy Headwaters Second Leadership Convening Summary Salt Lake City, UT

Building on it’s March 2010 meeting in Seattle, Carpe Diem West’s Healthy Headwaters Project working group met September 16, 2010 in Salt Lake City. The group focused its discussion on specific policy, management, and scientific issues that western water managers and advocates are facing in their work to make watersheds more resilient to climate change.

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Healthy Headwaters First Leadership Convening Summary Seattle, WA

Carpe Diem's Western Water & Climate Change Project hosted the first Healthy Headwaters leadership working group meeting on March 19, 2010 at the Wilburforce Foundation in Seattle to explore and discuss opportunities for a new level of national forest and watershed protection in the era of climate change.

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Western Water & Climate Change Communications Guidelines

A comprehensive framing analysis of existing media coverage and public opinion data on the issues of climate change and water in the West. September, 2009

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Climate Change, Water, and National Forests in the West

This policy brief outlines key issues and opportunities arising from the impacts of climate change on the western National Forests—and on the millions of users who depend on water that comes from those headwaters. July 2009  

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Federal Policy In Western Water and Climate Change - Las Vegas

Convening summary from Carpe Diem West's meeting held in Las Vegas March, 2009, examines possible changes to the federal government’s role in adaptation strategies addressing climate change impacts on the West’s water supply, water dependent industries, agriculture, and river ecosystems.

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Federal Policy in Western Water & Climate Change

This white paper provides a brief summary of the evolving federal role in western water management, suggests the driving forces for change, and sets out questions to frame the discussion from the March 2009 convening.

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Rethinking Storage in the Era of Climate Change

Convening summary - November 2008, Denver, CO Examining the evolving role of water storage - new, proposed and re-operation of existing projects - in the face of climate change impacts. Exploring the opportunities to find common ground among stakeholders.

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Getting Ready: Western Water & Climate Change in the Southwest

On May 29, 2008, seventy-five leaders from the non-profit, private, academic, policy and government sectors met in Albuquerque at the offices of the Mid-Region Council of Governments to examine the impacts climate change will have on water supply, water quality and riparian ecosystems in the Southwest.

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Convening Summary - Western Water & Climate Change

On November 30, 2007 the Carpe Diem - Western Water & Climate Change project brought together 45 key stakeholders and lead decision makers from around the Western United States to begin a conversation and to find answers to: Is there an opportunity to build common agendas to respond to climate change impacts on western water? If yes, what might some of those common agendas look like? What would we need to know and do next?  

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Water is Life Infographic

Check out our new infographic which explores the intersection of Western Water, Climate Change, Public Health and related equity issues.

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Water is Life Overview

Curious to learn more about Water is Life? Check out this one-page document that succinctly presents the problem, explains the program, and outlines the outcomes we anticipate over the next year. Join us on this journey of navigating the intersection of western water, climate change, and public health. Photo Credit: Nattu

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Water is Life: Climate Change, Western Water, and Health

Carpe Diem West is engaging western water managers, local and state agencies, social justice activists, climate scientists, and western health sector leadership in developing a common policy and research agenda to address the impacts of a changing climate and water quantity and quality on health in the American West.

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Summary of Research - Western Water, Climate Change & Public Health

This document briefly summarizes publications that discuss the relationship between public health, climate change, and water. Because a large body of literature does not exist around the topic, this synopsis demonstrates the need for continued research and programs that focus on the intersection between public health, climate change, and western water. November 2015

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Charting the Rapids Ahead: Western Water, Climate Change & Public Health

This paper written by Carpe Diem West & The Public Health Instituteʼs Center for Public Health & Climate Change highlights some of the common themes and issues that emerged from our discussions with some of the nationʼs leading experts working in the fields of public health, water, and climate, and describes some questions for decision makers to consider as they address the potential impacts of climate change on water and health. Web Forum information, powerpoint presentations & audio link, click here. October 2011

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Success Story! Salt Lake City, UT - Remembering Our Relationship with Our Watershed

Salt Lake City sprawls across the valley floor below the towering mountains of the Wasatch Front. In addition to a stunning backdrop and world-class recreation, the 11,000-feet-high peaks provide clean, reliable water supplies to growing population of more than a half million people. This water comes almost entirely from melting snow—a virtual reservoir high in the mountains. Unfortunately, that reservoir is vulnerable to the impacts of a warming climate, which means more precipitation falling as rain in the winter, less reliable snowpack, and earlier, more rapid runoff in the spring. These changes could cause the city to face serious shortages and water quality problems in late summer and fall. June, 2014

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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

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Success Story! Santa Fe, NM - Sustaining the Watershed

More than a third of the municipal water supply for Santa Fe’s 80,000 residents comes from the Santa Fe River, which flows from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains just east of town. Most of the river’s watershed lies in the Santa Fe National Forest, including 10,000 acres within the Pecos Wilderness Area. Threats to watersheds come in many forms, but in the Southwest the one that rises to the top of the list is catastrophic wildfire. A series of large-scale fires has struck the region’s ponderosa pine forests recently: the 48,000-acre Cerro Grande fire in northern New Mexico 2000, two fires in eastern Arizona— the 468,000-acre Rodeo-Chediski fire in 2005 and the the 538,000-acre Wallow Fire in 2011—and the 150,000-acre Las Conchas Fire, which burned 60 percent of the Bandelier National Monument in 2011.

Download

Success Story! Denver, CO - Seeing the Forest for the Water

Denver’s skyline features the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains, which provide essential drinking water supplies to this large and fast-growing metropolitan area. The Forest Service describes the Colorado Rockies, which form the headwaters for seven major U.S. river systems as the nation’s water towers. The forested watersheds that are the heart and soul of those water towers are at increasing risk from catastrophic wildfires on a scale far beyond what they experienced under natural conditions. Fuel buildup, from century of fire suppression and in some cases infestations of bark beetles resulting from a warming climate mean that Colorado’s forests are primed to burn. Oct, 2011

Download

Success Story! Eugene, OR - Giving Back to the Watershed

The city of Eugene, Oregon, is located in the scenic McKenzie River Valley at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers. The 200,000 residents of the Eugene metro area depend on the McKenzie River as their sole source of drinking water. About three-fourths of the watershed is in public ownership (mostly National Forest land), but most of the valuable riparian corridors are private—devoted largely to farms and forest products. As the agency responsible for delivering clean water to residents of Eugene, the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) takes a long view of watershed health. EWEB Drinking Water Source Protection Coordinator, Karl Morgenstern describes it simply: “Utilities have to look ahead 50-100 years, and that means looking at the impacts of climate change”. In the McKenzie watershed, those privately held riparian lands will provide valuable buffers against flooding, erosion, increased water temperature, and other expected changes, but only if they remain essentially undeveloped. Oct, 2011

Download

Healthy Headwaters Eleventh Leadership Convening Summary - Salt Lake City, Utah

At our Eleventh convening  June 3, 2016, Carpe Diem West convened scientists, policy makers, water managers, and leaders from NGOs, philanthropic organizations, and the private sector. We met in Salt Lake City, Utah, home of the recently signed Mountain Accord, a comprehensive and holistic approach that addresses four areas of concern - environment, recreation, transportation, and economics – to create consensus around solutions that will stand the test of time. Read the key take-aways below. June 2016

Download

Healthy Headwaters Tenth Leadership Convening Summary - Eugene, Oregon

At its tenth convening the Healthy Headwaters Leadership Team and invited Western Water Leaders discussed next steps for restoring and protecting headwaters and water supply in the American West. The meeting summary covers some of the key points. October 2015

Download

Healthy Headwaters Ninth Leadership Convening Summary - Albuquerque, NM

Carpe Diem West's convening November 14, 2014, brought more than 60 leaders in the public, private, NGO, and scientific sectors to examine how to best preserve and restore the high elevation watersheds that are the source of most of the water in the American West. This Ninth Healthy Headwaters Leadership Convening, held in Albuquerque, focused on opportunities to strengthen local and regional partnerships that support water source protection and advance the key reasons for headwaters restoration in the time of a changing climate.

Download

Healthy Headwaters Eighth Leadership Convening Summary - Salt Lake City, UT

At its eighth convening held in December 2013, the Healthy Headwaters Leadership Team and invited guests developed the Watershed Investment Network initiative, a resource to assist western communities in securing the funding and policies necessary to allow for large-scale restoration investments in at-risk watersheds.

Download

Healthy Headwaters Seventh Leadership Convening Summary - Sacramento, CA

This convening held May 16, 2013 in Sacramento focused on the evolving policy scaffolding for investment in green infrastructure, headwaters protection and downstream water security, and the innovations needed to better support these efforts.

Download

Healthy Headwaters Sixth Leadership Convening Summary - Portland, OR

Carpe Diem West's Sixth convening was held November, 2012. This summary focuses on the emerging political landscape for opportunities for investment in green infrastructure, headwaters protection and downstream water security.

Download

Healthy Headwaters Fifth Leadership Convening Summary - Phoenix, AZ

Carpe Diem West’s Healthy fifth convening was held on On April 27, 2012.  An invited leadership group from this stakeholder network addressed crucial emerging issues in creating resilient watersheds and water security in the American West in a time of climate change.

Download

Healthy Headwaters Fourth Leadership Convening Summary - Oakland, CA

Carpe Diem West’s fourth Healthy Headwaters convening was held in October, 2011. An invited leadership group from water utilities, conservation NGOs, government, and the scientific community addressed emerging issues arising in their work to create resilient watersheds and water security in the American West in a time of climate change.

Download

Healthy Headwaters Third Leadership Convening Summary - Denver, CO

Carpe Diem West's third Healthy Headwaters Leadership convening was held on March 25, 2011. The  convening summary focuses on how Carpe Diem West can support successful headwaters programs across the West, and strengthen its unusual alliance of leaders that form the core constituency for headwaters protection.

Download

Healthy Headwaters Second Leadership Convening Summary Salt Lake City, UT

Building on it’s March 2010 meeting in Seattle, Carpe Diem West’s Healthy Headwaters Project working group met September 16, 2010 in Salt Lake City. The group focused its discussion on specific policy, management, and scientific issues that western water managers and advocates are facing in their work to make watersheds more resilient to climate change.

Download

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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