Water Resource Security and Conservation Planning

Marstel-Day completed an Army Water Security Study for the Army Environmental Policy Institute, in response to a need to transform Army water programs from narrowly defined functional processes into a comprehensive water strategy. We established a conceptual framework for a water planning process by identifying six critical water security factors: sources, supplies, sustainable practices, survivability, sponsorship, and stakeholders. This framework can be adapted by other agencies to help plan for and achieve water security goals. Marstel-Day’s work illustrated the many factors that must be considered in developing comprehensive plans to create sustainable water source protection and supply programs, including: pollution risks to water sources; growing demand for limited water supplies; water rights disputes; climate change impacts; deteriorated water systems; limitations on water withdrawals to protect ecosystems; and potential water supply disruptions caused by system failures or natural disasters. This new approach shifted the discussion of water security from regulatory compliance to collaborative protection of shared water sources and joint planning for future use of finite water sources within the broader context of climate change impacts.

In 2012, the Environmental Business Journal awarded Marstel-Day a Project Merit Award in the “Planning and Strategy” category for our work on this project.