Water Policy Institute

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The Water Policy Institute is a think tank project established in May 2008 by the law firm Hunton & Williams. It describes itself as "a nonpartisan consortium bringing together industry leaders, including water suppliers, water users and nongovernmental organizations, to develop initiatives to address water supply, quality and use issues." [1]

The Institute is chaired by former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief turned PR consultant Christine Todd Whitman. [1] Whitman also co-chairs the Nuclear Energy Institute's Clean and Safe Energy Coalition. [2]

According to Congressional Quarterly, Whitman "is now helping to bring clients to the law firm of Hunton & Williams as chairwoman of its new Water Policy Institute. ... Whitman's firm will get an undisclosed fee for its work." [3]

The Water Policy Institute's corporate members include BP, Central Arizona Project and GE Water. [1]

Hunton & Williams "is extending membership invitations ... to about 15 other organizations, including local-government water agencies and multinational corporations," reported Congressional Quarterly in July 2008. "It will not charge membership dues" for the Institute, "but will ask each member to give something to support the institute, which plans to produce two white papers on water issues and hold monthly telephone conferences. The institute will also provide podcasts of conversations with people who are actively involved in water issues." [3]

Michael Campana, of Oregon State University's Institute for Water and Watersheds, wrote that the Institute "is sponsored by a Park Avenue law firm, has corporate members, and has an advisory panel with attorneys for 6 of its 8 members. Ask me why I'm not expecting anything but the SOS." [4]

Issues and publications

"Climate change is likely to be a major topic" of the Water Policy Institute, according to a profile in the Clean Water Report. "Other topics will include the intersection of water quality and quantity; desalination; new technology; agriculture; allocation of water; and infrastructure." [5]

In March 2009, the Water Policy Institute released its first white paper, "Water Wars: Conflicts Over Shared Waters (pdf)." The paper "focuses on the long-running war over water among Georgia, Florida and Alabama in the wake of the Southeast drought and the challenges resulting from a growing water footprint and increased consumption." [6] The paper recommends that Alabama, Florida and Georgia work with a federal mediator to develop an interstate compact on water use, while pending lawsuits are put on hold. It also suggests that further studies be conducted, on water use and ecological needs in the region. [7]

The Water Policy Institute plans to publish its second white paper in spring 2009, on "the interplay of water and energy" issues. [7]


From the Hunton & Williams website: [8]

  • Christine Todd Whitman, Chair
  • Kathy Robb, Director - also a Hunton & Williams Partner on Resources, Regulatory & Environmental Law

Advisory panel

From the Hunton & Williams website: [9]


From the Hunton & Williams website; all principals are Hunton & Williams employees: [11]

Contact details

Kathy Robb
Director, Water Policy Institute
Hunton & Williams LLP
200 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10166-0091

Phone: (212) 309-1128

Kathleen Shea
Administrative Manager
Hunton & Williams LLP
200 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10166-0091

Phone: (212) 309-1081
Email: kshea AT hunton.com

Web: http://www.hunton.com/Resources/Sites/general.aspx?id=527

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Press release, "Water Industry Leaders Launch Water Policy Institute to Address Current Challenges: Christine Todd Whitman to serve as chair; Hunton & Williams lawyer as director," Hunton & Williams, June 4, 2008.
  2. Diane Farsetta, "The Other Half of the Nuclear Industry's Power Couple: Christine Todd Whitman," PR Watch, August 27, 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rebecca Adams, "Water Policy: Whitman Dives In," Congressional Quarterly Weekly, July 6, 2008.
  4. Michael E. Campana, "Wow! A Famous Person Starts A Water Institute!," WaterWired blog, June 10, 2008.
  5. "New water institute seeks to convene diverse voices," Clean Water Report, June 18, 2008.
  6. Press release, "New Water Policy Institute White Paper Offers Blueprint for Resolving Southeastern Water Wars: Challenges and potential solutions in water consumption fight between states examined," Water Policy Institute via PR Newswire, March 31, 2009.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Water Wars: Conflicts Over Shared Waters (pdf)," Water Policy Institute, March 31, 2009.
  8. "Water Policy Institute: Leadership," Hunton & Williams website, accessed June 2008.
  9. "Water Policy Institute: Advisory Panel," Hunton & Williams website, accessed June 2008.
  10. Press release, "Manson Named To Prestigious Water Policy Institute Panel," University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, June 13, 2008.
  11. "Water Policy Institute: Institute Principals," Hunton & Williams website, accessed June 2008.

External resources

External articles