Water and Climate Resiliency: The Long View and the Broad Perspective

When it comes to insights on climate change and water, few in the U.S. can draw on more extensive experience than Pat Mulroy, who served for decades as general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Las Vegas Valley Water District and is now a senior fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and a senior fellow for climate adaptation and environmental policy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Brookings Mountain West.

speaker_mulroy_lgAlso a leader in the international water community for more than 25 years, Pat is an unrivaled resource for the Forum and will play a key role as the capstone speaker, weaving together the conference themes in a closing address aimed to inspire and challenge attendees.

Pat has never been reluctant to share her views on climate change and water. Just consider a few things she’s had to say in recent interviews:

On what to tell other cities about climate adaptation: You don’t have to build everything right away, but you have to play it out in your own planning process and in your own head. What are the trigger points? Where does carrying the risk become so untenable that we have to build climate defenses?

On government-sponsored research: The greatest investment the federal government could make right now would be to provide the financial resources that NOAA and NASA need to refine the science around predictability of climate and weather. Looking in the rear-view mirror doesn’t do us any good.

On communicating climate change to customers: Utilities need to stay on message and they have to be brutally honest with their customers. They need an engaged citizenry who can understand the issues, whether it’s water quality or conservation.

On connectivity: If we start looking for strategic partners and say it’s time for a larger strategy that provides maximum protection to agriculture, to urbans and to the environment – then we can work it out. And if we look at an integrated resource plan and blur state lines and blur geographic boundaries for connectivity and the opportunities that presents – then and only then do we have a chance.

Pat Mulroy is the total package when it comes to climate change and water utilities – a sensational asset for the Forum.