To achieve high impact, widespread adoption of sustainable water solutions in communities compatible with a healthy environment for the future.
Conflicts over water, and how and where to use it, are growing nationwide. The West is facing more frequent and severe drought, increased fire risk, less rain and snowpack, and more pressure on the natural systems that generate water supply. Transformation in our water use is inevitable, but we can achieve water security, and ecological integrity, by investing in and growing sustainable approaches, rather than falling into crisis-driven decision making.
WaterNow Alliance brings together water leaders from across the West with an interest in sustainability and resilience to provide a forum for exchange, access to resources, and a clear path to action. We work with businesses, community leaders, and water and finance experts to advance innovation, break down barriers, and catalyze change.
WaterNow Alliance Staff
Cynthia Koehler, Executive Director & Co-Founder
Cynthia is an environmental attorney and water policy expert with 20 years of experience working on federal and state water issues and legislation. She was previously the Environmental Defense Fund’s Legislative Director for California water issues, and the Legal Director for Save San Francisco Bay.
- Board Member, Marin Municipal Water District (serving 4th term)
- Water Education Foundation Board; Sierra Nevada Research Institute Directors’ Council
- Various awards for leadership on water issues, including the Hero of the Bay Award
Audrey Finci, Director of Business Strategies & Co-Founder
Audrey is a seasoned business executive who has served both in senior leadership positions at several consumer product companies and as a management consultant specializing in strategy development and strategic organization design.
- Executive positions at Levi Strauss & Company, Gap, Inc., The Walt Disney Company
- Consulting clients including Airbnb, Stella & Dot, John Hardy, American Eagle Outfitters, Hewlett-Packard
- Various non-profit organization boards, including the Briarcliff Improvement Association (past president)
Walt Wadlow, Director of Utility Relations
Drawing on over 30 years of water utility and California water policy experience, Walt assists in outreach to local, state, and federal government entities in support of the WaterNow Alliance and its projects.
- Broad water utility engineering and management experience at the wholesale and retail levels
- General Manager, Alameda County Water District; Assistant General Manager, Santa Clara Valley Water District; Board member, California Urban Water Agencies; Past president California State Water Contractors
- Appointed to second term City of Santa Cruz Water Commission
Leah Russin, Senior Policy Advisor
Leah is a veteran water lawyer and policy analyst with significant Washington, DC experience. She has worked on many aspects of western water, specializing in federal and state water programs.
- Former legislative counsel for US Senator Dianne Feinstein on environmental issues, including water and drought
- Former staff attorney at Stanford Mills Legal Clinic, Environmental Law
- Advises non profits on water policy
Nashelley Kaplan-Dailey, Senior Project Manager
Nashelley graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2013 where she focused on Environmental and Water Law. She is the program lead for the Alliance’s outdoor water efficiency project work.
- Water Leaders Class of 2015, Water Education Foundation
- Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper certification, September 2015
- CALI Award, University of San Diego School of Law, Water Law, Fall 2012
Tia Lebherz, Communications & Outreach Manager
Tia comes to WaterNow Alliance with a background in coalition building, facilitation and campaign strategy having previously worked on local, state and federal policy focused on sustainable food, water, and energy issues. She graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
- Led successful local initiatives for safe food and clean water in Michigan and California
- Managed statewide outreach to farmers, businesses and elected officials on a range of food and water policy issues
- Completed Green Corps Field School, a highly competitive training program
WaterNow Alliance Steering Committee
Kathy Holian, County Commissioner, Santa Fe County, NM
Gerry Horak, Mayor Pro Tem, Fort Collins, CO
Michael Kasperzak, City Councilman, Mountain View, CA
Matt Appelbaum, City Councilman, Boulder, CO
Dave Richins, Councilmember, City of Mesa, AZ
Richard Sykes, Director of Natural Resources, East Bay Municipal Utility District
Sam Mamet, Executive Director, Colorado Municipal League
Cooper Martin, Program Director, Sustainable Cities Institute, National League of Cities
Morgan Snyder, Program Officer, Walton Family Foundation (ex officio)
WaterNow Alliance Advisory Council
Adam Davis, Partner, Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP)
Adam is Director of Research, Policy & New Markets for EIP, a private equity firm that invests in conservation and restoration actions nationwide. A longtime expert in Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) and sustainability policy, Adam also cofounded the Ecosystem Marketplace, a global information service about conservation incentives, and was President of Solano Partners, Inc., a consulting firm focused on conservation finance issues.
Alan Viterbi, President/CEO, Liquid Environmental Solutions
Alan is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Liquid Environmental Solutions, a comprehensive provider of non-hazardous liquid and organic waste collection, transportation, treatment and recycling services. Alan was the Mayor of West Hollywood, California, and a member of the City Council from 1984 to 1988. He has also served on various public agency boards, including as Chairman of Los Angeles County Sanitation District 4.
Anne Zimmermann, Director for Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air, & Rare Plants, U.S. Forest Service (ret.)
Anne led the U.S. Forest Service’s efforts to revamp its approach to managing the nation’s critical watersheds for downstream water quality and water supply purposes. A wildlife biologist by training, Anne spent 35 years with USFS in leadership roles from ranger to Forest Supervisor. She spearheaded development of the Forest Condition Framework, which guides watershed restoration priorities.
Brad Udall, Senior Water and Climate Research Scientist/Scholar, Colorado State University’s Colorado Water Institute
Brad’s expertise includes hydrology and related policy issues of the American West. He has researched water problems on all major Southwestern US rivers including the Rio Grande, Colorado, Sacramento-San Joaquin and Klamath, and has spent 6 months in Australia studying their recent water reforms. He has provided congressional testimony, input to several National Academy of Science panels, and has given hundreds of talks on climate change impacts. Brad was formerly the Director of the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and Environment at the University of Colorado Law School, Director of the CU-NOAA Western Water Assessment and a consulting engineer and principal with Hydrosphere Resource Consultants.
Chris Frahm, Shareholder, Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck, LLP
Chris is a preeminent California water attorney representing municipalities, utilities, private corporations, and associations on water supply and infrastructure development projects. She served as the Chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board, and on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She serves on the Board of the California Foundation on the Economy and the Environment.
Clifford Gerber, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley Austin is one of the largest law firms in the world with 1,700 attorneys in 19 offices around the globe. Clifford is a nationally recognized expert in tax-exempt financing and oversees Sidley’s Tax Practice with respect to state and local bond financings on the West Coast. He has been recognized in the Best Lawyers in America in Public Finance and Municipal Law. Clifford is President-Elect of the National Association of Bond Lawyers.
David Aladjem, Partner, Downey Brand LLP
David regularly serves as counsel for agricultural and urban water users in complex multiparty water negotiations throughout California. David has served as Chair of the American Bar Association's Water Resources Committee, and Chair of the American Bar Association's Annual Water Law Conference. He is a recipient of ACWA’s 2009 Excellence in Water Leadership Award.
David Sunding, Thomas J. Graff Professor, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley
David is a national expert in resource economics, regulation, technological change, applied econometrics, risk and public finance. He is a co-director of UC Berkeley’s Water Center, and served as a senior economist on President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. He has served on National Research Council panels, and testifies on environmental and resource issues, damages, valuation, cost allocation and resource planning.
Jad Daley, Director Climate Conservation Program, Trust for Public Land
Jad coordinates TPL’s development of climate-smart cities through green infrastructure and strategic “resilient landscape” conservation targeted to climate change mitigation and adaptation. He also leads the organization’s development of forest carbon projects for voluntary and compliance carbon markets, and serves on the public-private national council to guide the work of the federal Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.
James H. Gibbs, Principal, Sperry Capital
James has over 35 years of experience in public finance and investment banking, and currently leads Sperry’s renewable energy projects initiative. He was previously the California Regional Manager of Public Finance for Lehman Brothers, specializing in transactions for water and sewer utilities, general government and public power agencies.
Jill Kauffman Johnson, Director of Sustainability, Solazyme
Jill leads Solazyme’s sustainability agenda. She was previously a Principal and Managing Director with California Environmental Associates, a leading environmental consulting firm, where she founded the Sustainable Business Practice to help clients green supply chains, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Prior to joining CEA, Jill was the Director of the Pacific Coast Office of the Ocean Conservancy.
Johanna Wald, Senior Counselor, Natural Resources Defense Council (ret.)
Johanna is an icon in the environmental community and one of the nation's leading advocates for sustainable management of public lands. Most recently, she led NRDC's effort to facilitate appropriate development of renewable energy project sites in the West. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Johanna also serves as a member of San Francisco's Commission on the Environment.
Kevin Powell, Green Proving Ground Program Manager, U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
Kevin has worked on sustainable building issues for GSA since 2005 and was previously the Executive Director for the Center for the Built Environment at UC Berkeley. An architect by training, Kevin manages a portfolio of over twenty green proving ground projects, focusing on innovative building technologies, tools, and practices.
Mary Ann Dickinson, President/CEO, Alliance for Water Efficiency
Mary Ann is one of the nation’s preeminent leaders in water conservation and sustainability management. She founded the Alliance for Water Efficiency in 2007 after a long career directing the California Urban Water Conservation Council and working with hundreds of water utilities on best management practices and water policy. She is a fellow at the Water Resources Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a Trustee and past Chair of the American Water Works Association National Water Conservation Division.
Mitch Tobin, Owner, Sea to Snow Consulting
Mitch Tobin, owner of Sea to Snow Consulting, evaluates grant making for foundations and helps clients with their communications needs. From 1998 to 2006, Mitch covered water and other environmental issues for the Napa Valley Register, Tucson Citizen, Arizona Daily Star, and High Country News. As a consultant at California Environmental Associates, Mitch helped write the Design to Win report and served as communications officer at the ClimateWorks Foundation. From 2010 through 2014, Mitch led the evaluation of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Western Conservation subprogram and created EcoWest.org to track environmental trends in the region.
Phyllis Faber, Biologist and Educator
Phyllis is one of the nation's preeminent wetland field biologists for more than four decades. She was a co-editor of the University of California Press's California Natural History Guides, and a Fellow of the California Native Plant Society where she edited the Society's journal, Fremontia, for many years. Phyllis served as one of the first California Coastal Commissioners and a founder of the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) which has protected over 40% of the County's farmland through conservation easements.
Randall Sosnick, President/CEO NEXT Lighting Corp.
Randall is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of NEXT Lighting Corp., a manufacturer of energy-efficient solid-state lighting products. He was formerly President of Silver Fox Development Corp., an international sustainable real-estate development company. Randall was also a co-founder of Amplitude Software Corp. and Digital Foundry Inc. and Director of European Legal and Business Affairs at NEXT Computer, Inc. Randall received degrees in law and business from UC Berkeley.
Susan Frank, President & COO, The Better World Group
The Better World Group is a policy and communications consulting firm, and Susan is known statewide for her expertise in public policy development, coalition management, strategic communications, and lobbying/advocacy having served as CEO and in senior-level roles in the nonprofit and corporate sectors over the last 22+ years. She serves on the Board of Directors for the California League of Conservation Voters, Communities for a New California, and the International Green Industry Hall of Fame.
Robert Wilkinson, Adjunct Professor, Water Policy, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, UC Santa Barbara
Robert’s research and teaching is focused on water and energy policy, climate change, and issues of environmental policy. He serves on the public advisory committee for the California Water Plan, has represented the University of California on the Governor's Task Force on Desalination. He has advised the California Energy Commission and U.S. EPA on climate research, and has served as coordinator for the climate impacts assessment of the California Region for the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.