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An Integrative Regional Resiliency Framework: Achieving Water Security through Collaboration

Newsha Ajami, Director of Urban Water Policy, Stanford University

Nov 23 2020 | 11:00am to 12:00pm PST Online

Newsha Ajami stands on a balcony
Newsha Ajami

Dr. Ajami has done extensive research on sustainable water resource management, incorporating social and economic measures and effective communication, driven by the impact it makes on the improvement of the science-policy-stakeholder interface. Anyone interested in water quality and water resource management should hear more about Dr. Ajami’s research.  
— Liliana Sierra Castillo, Bren School PhD Student


Traditional water supply portfolios have proven to be unsustainable under the uncertainties associated with growth and climate change. Introducing alternative water supplies such as recycled water and captured runoff, as well as demand management strategies, have been widely proposed to address the long-term resiliency of water supplies. Collaborative efforts have the potential to achieve this goal through more efficient use of common pool resources and access to funding opportunities for diversification projects. However, this requires a paradigm shift towards holistic solutions that address the complexity of hydrologic, socio-economic, and governance dynamics surrounding water. In this seminar, I will present a novel integrative resiliency framework that provides a holistic approach to assess water resilience in coupled socio-hydrologic systems. To assess resiliency, we have developed a numerical index comprised of supply, demand, and adaptive capacity indicators, including an innovative way to account for the importance of having diverse supply sources. We demonstrate the application of this framework to the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our analyses demonstrate that water agencies that share common water supplies are in a good position to establish integrative regional management partnerships to achieve individual and collective short-term and long-term benefits.


Dr. Newsha K. Ajami directs the Urban Water Policy Program at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. A leading expert in sustainable water resource management, water policy, and the water-energy-food nexus, she studies the human and policy dimensions of urban water and hydrologic systems. Dr. Ajami is a gubernatorial appointee to the Bay Area Regional Water Quality Control Board. She has published many highly cited peer-reviewed articles, and contributed opinion pieces to the New York Times and the Sacramento Bee. Dr. Ajami received her PhD in civil and environmental engineering from UC Irvine and MS in hydrology and water resources from the University of Arizona.

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