Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"What Do Water Markets and Groundwater Banking Have to Do with
Sustainable Water Management?"

Ellen Hanak
Co-Director of Research, Senior Fellow
Public Policy Institute of California

Tuesday, April 23, 2013
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414

"Ellen Hanak is one of the foremost analysts of California's water markets and the challenges presented by increasing future demands on the scarce resource even as climate change affects supplies."
— Gary Libecap, Faculty Host

This talk will provide an overview of water marketing and the related practice of groundwater banking in California. The water market enables temporary, long-term, or permanent transfer of the rights to use water in exchange for compensation. The ability to transfer these rights adds flexibility to the state's water supply, helping to address temporary drought conditions and to accommodate longer-term changes in the pattern of demand. Groundwater banking involves the deliberate storage of surface water in aquifers during relatively wet years for use in dry years. Both tools are part of a modern water management portfolio that will enable California to manage its water resources sustainably, benefitting both the economy and the environment.

Ellen Hanak is an economist and senior policy fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Her career has focused on the economics of natural resource management and agricultural development. Since joining PPIC in 2001, she has built an influential, multi-disciplinary water policy research program involving scholars from across California. She has also held research positions with the French agricultural research system, the U.S. President’s council of Economic Advisors, the World Bank, and the Brookings Institution.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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