The mission of the WWPP is to conduct research and advisory activities promoting sustainable, equitable, and practical solutions to the pressing water problems of the American West. Three related challenges form the core of our activities:

1) The WWPP articulates and promotes implementation of a comprehensive vision of improved water management in the West.

Although a tremendous amount of research, activism and debate is (and has been) focused on western water resources, the scope and pace of innovation have generally been insufficient to protect highly-valued social and environmental resources. To achieve management goals, the water community increasingly needs a game plan that is more ambitious, sophisticated, and willing to challenge conventional thinking about western water policy. The WWPP is a vehicle for improving the framing of issues, problems and potential solutions, and promoting enhanced coordination of activities and implementation strategies among other organizations and agencies with similar (although usually more specialized) mandates.

2) The WWPP investigates current issues and case studies in the region, identifying key trends, and focusing on the primary stressors of population growth and climate change.

For several decades, the University of Colorado Law School has led the discussion in many areas of water management innovation, including water allocation and marketing, environmental protection, transboundary conflict resolution, and new governance arrangements. Increasingly, these (and related) issues are, by necessity, viewed through a lens shaped by climate change, continued population growth, and the transformation of the energy sector. The WWPP continues to be “out front” on emerging issues, tracking and analyzing those issues in a way that facilitates discussion, education and problem-solving.

3) The WWPP identifies and promotes specific legal and policy innovations at multiple levels of government and in multiple decision-making venues.

Legal and policy innovation is the heart of the WWPP mission, guided and informed by our work in the other two activity areas. The WWPP strives to provide the knowledge, inspiration and leadership necessary to ensure that water management efforts meet the diverse needs of the 21st century. These efforts are conducted through multiple networks of collaborators and advisors established over the past three decades of activity.