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Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2019


Gladys Brangman

Cornell Affiliations:

Atkinson Center

Off-campus partner:

Environmental Defense Fund


Opportunity Description

Advance groundwater management for resilient water supplies as an Atkinson Center-Environmental Defense Fund Western Water Intern in San Francisco, CA.

Current policies and market failures encourage waste and fail to reward environmental innovation. EDF’s Ecosystems Program is uniquely equipped to help fix this problem by accelerating the development of systems that make conservation and efficient land and water management profitable.

One of the priorities of EDF’s water program is advancing groundwater management that proactively meets ecosystem needs and contributes to the resilience of water supplies. Water markets are promoted as a mechanism to enhance resilience and reallocate water to higher-valued users by allowing buyers and sellers to trade water rights. While markets provide flexibility and allow users to adapt to changing water availability, many aspects of water markets remain poorly understood. For example, water markets can alter the spatial distribution, timing, and magnitude of water usage in ways that can provide environmental improvements but also in ways that may cause adverse, unintended environmental and community impacts. One salient potential environmental impact is a change in the quantity and quality of return flows to rivers and streams (e.g., by transferring water use between users with varying pollutant loading). This work seeks to (i) understand the potential environmental impacts of water trading programs and (ii) determine key characteristics of trading programs which contribute to various environmental and community outcomes.

Key Responsibilities:

Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Research new and developing water markets in the United States (including CA, AZ, TX, NE, CO), Chile, and Australia
  • Develop case studies of water markets in Californian groundwater basins and in other geographies
  • Conduct interviews and engage with various stakeholders and water managers
  • Synthesize and analyze data on water trades in Chilean and Californian markets
  • Participate in team meetings, present research findings, and solicit feedback from water program staff, consultants, and partners

10 weeks during the summer

Full-time (35 hours/week)

Compensation is $5,000 for the summer term.

Christina Babbitt, Senior Manager, CA Groundwater Program

This is one of ten (10) Atkinson Center-Environmental Defense Fund summer internships available. You must submit a separate application for each internship, if applying for more than one.

Please make certain to review the Requirements page prior to applying.