Last year, at the Paris climate conference, water was finally taken seriously as a central concern in climate adaption plans. Not only was water central to national climate change plans, but water groups had more seats at the table. There was an awareness of how water affects all of us through resource management and cooperation by various bodies. As this Circle of Blue article puts it: “Cities, non-governmental organizations, research institutes, utilities, and businesses pledged to address water as part of the “Agenda for Solutions,” a platform for promoting climate action outside of international politics.”

Now that President Trump has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord, how does the US coordinate its climate change efforts? States have signaled their willingness to go it alone on issues like immigration and healthcare. After Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement state governors and city mayors pledged to commit to climate change efforts anyway. Yet climate adaption and water adaption in the US will be an enormous effort with as yet no centralized body to direct it. And not all states are equal when it comes to access to water. It’s easy to see how mediation will be needed from the outset to coordinate these efforts. As this recent article by two water scholars comments, mediation offers a solution to the west’s water crisis. According to the article, it’s possible to see a difference where mediation is used: Patricia Mulroy compares the Colorado River’s history of mediation leading to collaborative solutions with California’s history of litigation over drought leading to a patchwork of divisions. When it comes to water, “we are all stakeholders.”

At Boileau Conflict Solutions we employ game theory, amongst other psychological, mathematical and financial approaches to resolve conflict where resources are scarce. All parties are viewed as stakeholders and win-win solutions are sought that are sustainable. Mediation doesn’t just help to resolve existing conflicts, it can also help to get organized when negotiating agreements that can be critical to future cooperation. If you are seeking guidance in crafting good agreements to coordinate water cooperation, or if you find yourself embroiled in a dispute centering around water, we can help. We are available 7 days a week at our offices in Campbell, CA, Boulder, CO and Irvine, CA or through skype or zoom. Please contact us today for a free consultation.

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