In the western U.S., water disputes are notoriously characterized by a sense of competition for a scarce resource, which often leads to defensiveness and distrust; misunderstandings and failed communication; ineffective negotiations; and feelings of injustice.  Further, there are often few mechanisms in place to help resolve water-related disputes in an efficient and cost-effective manner.  Approaches are needed to help parties more fully understand each other’s interests, develop a vision for positive joint outcomes, and build creative and effective agreements.

With extensive experience in water-related disputes, CDR helps bring together stakeholders to collaboratively resolve issues surrounding allocation, quality, use, and management of water.

Whether you’re struggling with how to negotiate and manage conflict around a proposed water delivery system, operate a reservoir to meet agricultural, municipal and ecological needs, conjunctively manage groundwater and surface water, or form inter-jurisdictional water agreements, CDR can assist you in creating lasting, practical solutions.

We provide situation assessments, process design, facilitation and mediation to address complex, multiparty issues such as:

  • Water allocation, e.g., inter-jurisdictional agreements and institutional arrangements
  • Multi-objective, integrative watershed planning and management
  • Surface and groundwater management to enhance effective use and storage of hydrologically connected waters
  • Urban/agricultural interfaces concerning water use and management
  • Water infrastructure – development, operations, and maintenance, including dams and conveyance mechanisms
  • Water quality for municipal, transportation and agricultural use
  • Organizational decision-making, effectiveness and management among and within water agencies and associations
  • Addressing the nexus between water, land use, and energy development

Example projects include:

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