Phoenix, Arizona

Paula Randolph
Associate Director

Who We Are
The Babbitt Center is building capacity to secure our water future. Learn More

The sustainability of water and land resources is one of the greatest challenges facing the Colorado River Basin. Since most land use requires an adequate water supply, meaningfully addressing this challenge requires recognizing how land use decisions shape water demand. This link is the cornerstone of the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, a center at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Building Capacity to Secure Our Water Future

Land use decisions that shape our water future are made every day. And a thriving, sustainable future in the West requires that communities integrate land and water policy decisions. The Babbitt Center seeks to advance the integration of land and water management to meet the current and future water needs in the Colorado River Basin. Our efforts will advance water sustainability and resilience in the Colorado River Basin, throughout the West, and ultimately throughout the world.

Watch the Babbitt Center signature video to learn more about our approach to solving water management and land use integration challenges.

Our Work

Real-world understanding, research and training, and collaborative partners who share resources are valuable catalysts that strengthen a community’s ability to secure its water future. Our work is focused throughout the seven Colorado River Basin states, binationally across the basin into Mexico, and with 30 Native American tribes, boosting communities’ resilience and building a global exchange of transformative ideas with other arid and semiarid regions.

Learn More About Our Work

Featured Programs and Projects

Integrating land use and water management requires innovative approaches and partnerships. The Babbitt Center works closely with governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutions, and business leaders to address challenges and harness opportunities. We conduct research and develop tools, promote best practices, provide training, and facilitate partnerships to guide decision-making for sustainable management of land and water resources.

Map of Colorado River Basin

Colorado River Basin Map

The Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy produced an updated Colorado River Basin Map in partnership with the Center for Geospatial Solutions. This map showcases the geography and hydrography of the Colorado River Basin, corrects inconsistencies in contemporary maps of the region, and provides water managers, tribal leaders, educators, and other stakeholders with an updated resource as they confront critical issues related to growth, resource management, and sustainability.

See the Map

Growing Water Smart

Historically, planning for water resources and land use have been conducted separately. Yet, where and how we build greatly impacts water supply and demand and the quality of water that supports our ecosystems. The Growing Water Smart program helps community leaders integrate water and land use planning to further the sustainability and resilience of their community. Multidisciplinary community teams of key decision-makers and personnel, such as elected officials, planning commissioners, water resource managers, land use planners, and economic and community developers, come together in facilitated work sessions to: 1) set a workshop intention, 2) evaluate current water smart policies and practices, 3) develop community water efficiency goals, 4) make the case for water smart change in their communities, and 5) create a team action plan that identifies tasks and timelines for meeting the community’s water efficiency goals.

Learn More About Growing Water Smart

The Hardest-Working River in the West: A StoryMap of the Colorado

Explore the key water sustainability issues in the Colorado River Basin through data and stories updated regularly. Although not the largest or longest river in the world, the Colorado River connects a rich array of social and ecological communities along its 1,450-mile journey from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to its mouth in the Gulf of California, Mexico.

See the StoryMap

Sowing Seeds: How Scenario Planning Can Help Agricultural Communities Build a Resilient Future

In March 2023, a consortium of Mesa County, Colorado, residents gathered to use a process called exploratory scenario planning, or XSP, to envision a more resilient future for their community and agricultural economy. The Mesa Conservation District hosted the workshop, developed by the Babbitt Center in partnership with Lincoln Institute’s Scenario Planning team and Arizona State University’s Arizona Water Innovation Initiative. XSP helps communities plan for an uncertain future by exploring multiple possibilities of what might happen. The practice helps planners, community members, and other stakeholders consider various futures and how to effectively plan with various driving forces at play. XSP encourages a wide range of perspectives and brings diverse voices into the discussion to help create plans that community leaders and stakeholders can implement.

Watch the Documentary

Cover of Perspectives from the Field

Perspectives from the Field: The Future of Agriculture

The Colorado River is pivotal in supporting agricultural production throughout the basin, not only contributing significantly to the economies and livelihoods of rural communities but also supporting our national food supply and global food security.

The Babbitt Center engaged in a yearlong study to understand the perspectives of agricultural producers in the region. The team personally interviewed 74 farmers and ranchers to understand the difficulties they are facing as well as their immediate concerns regarding the need for collaboration to secure the future of agriculture in the Colorado River Basin. Our goal was to learn about their reality and elevate their voices as crucial stakeholders in any water discussions.

Read the Executive Summary


Headshot of John Farner

John Farner

Executive Director, Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Phoenix, Arizona

Paula Randolph

Associate Director, Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Phoenix, Arizona

Headshot of Kristen Keener Busby

Kristen Keener Busby

Associate Director for Practice and Partnerships, Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Phoenix, Arizona

Headshot of Nike Opejin

Nike Opejin

Program Manager, Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Phoenix, Arizona

Headshot of Nina Gruber

Nina Gruber

Administrative Manager, Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Phoenix, Arizona

Zach Sugg

Associate Director for Research, Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Phoenix, Arizona