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About Carpe Diem West
Carpe Diem West leads a broad-based network of decision makers, scientists, economists, policy experts, and advocates in addressing the unprecedented impacts the growing climate crisis is having on water in the America West.
In the American West, water is our lifeblood - and we’ve been fighting over it for more than a century. The growing climate crisis challenges us to move beyond these old ways to collaborative solutions for our water and our future.
With increasing urgency, science is telling us that the water the American West relies upon - how much we have, when we get it, and its quality - is being fundamentally altered by changes in our climate. And these changes are not years in the future, they are happening right now.
A group of western water leaders started Carpe Diem West five years ago because they could see the realities of these changes in climate both made it all the more urgent, and presented new opportunities, to address the old unsustainable ways we’ve managed our water in the American West. Entrenched interests and bureaucracies, shrinking budgets, a growing population, new water-intensive energy production, and damaged ecosystems all add up to a witches’ brew that makes smart, science-based change an enormous challenge.
And that is the task before us: Bringing together competing interests to find cooperative solutions.
Carpe Diem West’s goal is simple and daunting: smart, science-based solutions that create water security for our communities, the food we grow, our economy and our environment.
All of us have a deep love for the American West. And the people of Carpe Diem West - our core team, our broader network - are committed to bringing the energy, talent and leadership to navigate the very big challenges ahead.
Kimery Wiltshire, Executive Director
The Carpe Diem Network - Filling A Critical Niche:
“The Carpe Diem process requires a leap of faith - by their very nature the outcomes cannot be predetermined. But if you're serious about investing in smart people working to find a sustainable path forward, it's a leap well worth taking.”
Steve Whitney Program Officer, The Bullitt Foundation
“There are some places where I get stuck. How do we scale up the pilot projects? We just don’t have enough people. How do we speed up? The climate changes and their impacts are happening faster than expected. The models we were using weren’t too wacky, they weren’t wacky enough.”
Dr. Holly Hartmann Director, Arid Lands Information Center, University of Arizona/CLIMAS
“On our land we see the changes climate change is bringing. The winds dry up the land and streams, and we are seeing more ‘false storms’ – water that falls up high and never reaches the ground.”
Gil Suazo Water Resources Specialist, Former Governor, Taos Pueblo
The Carpe Diem Mission:
Carpe Diem West focuses on water security. In our view, water security means ensuring adequate water of sufficient quality and timing to support all uses – for our communities, the food we grow, our economy and our environment – and that there will be an equitable means of sharing shortages when there is not enough to go around.
We pursue water security by creating links between leaders, by integrating state-of-the-art climate-change science with the needs of a range of stakeholders, by incubating new initiatives, and by promoting sustainable management practices and policies that emerge from the stakeholder process.
While Carpe Diem West works to identify and incubate ideas for policy and management changes, we do not prescribe solutions. Instead, we use the collective wisdom of our leadership network to develop a vision, goals, and a plan for common action.
Facing this challenge requires us to move beyond historic conflicts and develop sustainable practices and policies to better manage water in a time of increasing uncertainty. Because no one interest group or constituency can, by itself, make the necessary changes, Carpe Diem West connects leaders across previously un-bridged boundaries to create solutions that provide water security for people, the economy, the environment, and food production in the American West.
Latest webinar recording posted!
Effective Messaging: Communicating Nature's Benefits
Carpe Diem West releases report New Visions, Smart Choices - Western Water Security in a Changing Climate
Healthy Headwaters Alliance rolls out inaugural Policy Platform
Latest Academy webinar recording archived- Watershed Valuation: A Closer Look
Healthy Headwaters 6th Leadership Convening in Portland a resounding success
Academy Webinar Series: November 14
Robust Decision Making
Academy Webinar Series: September 20th
Vulnerability Assessment - Take Two
View the Archive
We've moved! Please update your records with our new address
Carpe Diem West's new Director of Programs starts July 9th!
Meet Cynthia Koehler
Academy Webinar Series: June 21st
Watershed Valuation - From Australia to the American West
View the Archive
Healthy Headwaters Alliance rolled out April 2012, releases charter Policy Platform
Carpe Diem West Academy launches its newsletter!
Academy Webinar Series: March 21st
Getting Through the Bottleneck: Assessing Vulnerability
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Leadership Convening Summary: Healthy Headwaters
Carpe Diem West’s fourth Healthy Headwaters convening, 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 – in Oakland on October 28, 2011. Read More
NEW Report: Governing Like A River Basin: Options for Expanded Stakeholder Engagement in the Colorado River Basin examines examples of successful stakeholder engagement processes and how they may be used in conjunction with the Bureau of Reclamation’s Basin Study to build long-term solutions for the Colorado River. Read More
NEW Report: Read Carpe Diem West's report, Watershed Investment Programs in the American West. An Updated Look: Linking Upstream Watershed Health & Downstream Security, which provides information on what communities are doing to protect their headwaters. Read the report
Charting the Rapids Ahead
In partnership with the Center for Public Health & Climate Change, Carpe Diem West conducted an overview analysis to assess the intersection of western water, climate change and public health.
Read the report
Webinar on the U.S. Forest Service's Watershed Condition Framework (WCF)
Hosted by Carpe Diem West –
U.S. Forest Service's Anne Zimmermann, Director of Watersheds, Fish, Wildlife, Air & Rare Plants talks about the WCF and how is it guiding on-the-ground restoration.
View the archive
Carpe Diem West Academy Website Phase II
Thanks to the generous funding of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, we're off and running on Phase II of the Carpe Diem West Academy. Launching in December 2011, Phase II will be even more dynamic, offering webinars, discussion forums, feedback mechanisms, user profiles, and new tools and best practices. Read More
Healthy Headwaters Meeting Summary
Carpe Diem West's Healthy Headwaters Working Group held its third face-to-face meeting - along with an invited group of western water leaders – in Denver on March 25, 2011. Read More
'Thinking Like a River Basin' Report
Carpe Diem West's report, Thinking Like a River Basin: Leaders' Perspectives on Options and Opportunities in Colorado River Management, paints a portrait of a river basin – and a leadership community – at a crossroads. Read More
Denver Post Colorado River Op-Ed
On February 25, the Denver Post ran an insightful op-ed by Carpe Diem West leader Doug Kenney of the Colorado River Governance Initiative at the University of Colorado in Boulder, about the long-term future of dwindling Colorado River supplies in the face of climate change – and what people are doing about it.
New CRS Report on Energy's Water Demands
In January 2011, lead author Nicole Carter and her colleagues at the Congressional Research Service submitted their new report, Energy's Water Demand: Trends, Vulnerabilities, and Management, to Congress. It provides an excellent overview analysis of the water footprint of energy in the United States. Read More