Globally, water may well become the next oil, as a resource at the center of conflict. In the Intermountain West, it's already become the major factor in growth and development going forward. Water supplies and infrastructure are strained due to rapid population growth, inefficient building and land use patterns, and an increasingly volatile climate. The West is going to have to be much smarter in water supply management as well as conservation by way of development, and that is the subject of Adapting to a Drier West: Water, Growth, and Better Development Practices, a symposium beginning tomorrow at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas that will bring together government officials, real estate developers, advocates, planners, journalists, and others to asses how land development techniques can conserve water and help replenish water resources. The symposium, the most comprehensive examination to date of the impact of urban development on water quantity and quality, is hosted by the Urban Land Institute Center for Balanced Development in the West, in partnership with the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Sustainable Sites Initiative, and Ernst & Young.
The private and public sector water and land use experts include Deanna Archuleta, deputy assistant secretary for water and science, U.S. Department of the Interior; Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager, Metropolitan Water District of Los Angeles, Andy Lipkis, executive director, TreePeople; David Modeer, general manager, Central Arizona Project; and Bradley Udall, director, Western Water Assessment. Lincoln Institute fellow Peter Pollock, based in Boulder, will also participate, as will Jim Holway, director of the Lincoln Institute-Sonoran Institute joint venture. “It’s clear that regional and local problems with both water quantity and quality will continue without a broad-based cutback in public water consumption and a change in development patterns,” said ULI The Americas President Cheryl Cummins. “This event will look at water infrastructure through the lens of sustainable growth, illustrating how land development can be part of the solution to efficient water use, rather than the problem.”