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Philosophy

We believe that…

Sustaining our land, water, and energy resources requires building new structures and systems to support that sustainability. These structures and systems are in turn made up of and depend on having in place the right knowledge, information, policy, institutions, and social and cultural support. Developing these components and tools for resource sustainability is the challenging but necessary work of many far-thinking organizations and individuals today—and requires the participation and dedication of government, business, the non-profit and philanthropy sectors, and of individuals at home and in their communities.

Freshwater aspires to provide strategic support to those doing this long-term, nuanced, and essential work. We provide consulting services that include strategic planning; policy analysis and development; strategic communication and development of stakeholder relationships; and other support in program and project design and implementation.

Our substantive specialty is at the nexus of water law and policy and freshwater conservation in Arizona and the Colorado River Basin. Past and present Freshwater clients include Audubon, The Nature Conservancy in Arizona, Environmental Defense Fund, Western Resource Advocates, the Coconino Plateau Watershed Partnership, Friends of the Verde River, the Verde River Basin Partnership, the Verde River Valley Nature Organization, Arizona Land and Water Trust, Grand Canyon Trust, and the Walton Family Foundation. We have worked closely with businesses, municipalities, resource agencies, elected officials, agricultural producers, utilities, and those from many other sectors and backgrounds.

Our Approach

Freshwater’s approach emphasizes the importance of strong relationships, smart institutional structures, and collaborative, proactive solutions to difficult challenges.

Strong relationships. So much of doing good work is about building good relationships with the right people. In its work with clients on water policy and sustainability issues, Freshwater emphasizes the need to listen carefully, and to build meaningful relationships with the people and stakeholders involved.

Smart institutional structures and systems. “Institutions”—a broad name for significant practices, relationships, or organizations in a society or culture—and underlying “systems”—different arrangements of people, organizations, and other elements, set up (whether intentionally or not) to accomplish something—are often key to what does get accomplished in a certain place or around a certain set of issues. We believe that it’s important to pay attention to supporting and building the right institutions to get the right results. When possible we like to take a “systems” approach to problems.

Proactive solutions to difficult challenges. It is easier to identify and talk about problems than to identify and talk about solutions, and it is easier to tear things apart than to build them up. Freshwater believes in the need to undertake smart, sequential, and strategic work to build and promote the right solutions to challenges.