Stresses on water availability and water quality are intensifying, with many regions experiencing these issues as crisis-level challenges. The belief that access to water is a zero-sum game fuels intense disputes among those who have vested, and often divergent, interests in the management of this critical resource. These disputes—involving industry, agriculture, public agencies, tribes, water suppliers, environmentalists, under-resourced communities, and recreational advocates—often lead to damaged relationships, protracted stalemates, and litigation that can go on for years while water resources continue to diminish. Climate change only exacerbates these problems with increased drought, flooding, and unpredictable weather patterns, which can also lead to increased pathogens and nutrient pollution in water. In many cases the greatest challenges are experienced by those most at risk and least able to adapt to or mitigate them.
CBI helps parties shift from zero-sum conflicts to mutually beneficial possibilities for conserving, using, and reusing water in ways that can meet the needs of many, and helps build the capacity of stakeholders to solve these problems together into the future. Our mediators, who have substantial experience in water issues and the political landscape, custom-design each collaborative process, using a wide range of approaches with stakeholders to:
From working with stakeholders to protect Cape Cod’s vital estuaries and inland bays to building collaboration on Colorado’s rivers to helping negotiate the development and implementation of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, we have a strong track record of helping parties reach agreements on thorny water issues.
CBI helped us with the tall task of bringing together many stakeholders with divergent views to set up a groundwater agency. In the end, you can fight your way through something like this or develop relationships that live on. CBI helped us do the latter, as well as come to agreement on the agency structure. Our success came through an advanced collaboration process—what I see as advanced leadership in today’s world.
Director of Public Works
City of Salinas