Director, Water Program
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Sharlene directs the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Program at Ceres, a national nonprofit helping institutional investors to integrate sustainability into the capital markets. With Ceres, she works with water service providers to build business models that are resilient to weather extremes, climate change and resource depletion.
She also works closely with bond investors to develop credit risk assessment methods that appropriately value sustainable water governance and resource management, and to construct criteria for investment vehicles that will channel capital toward sustainable water systems.
Before coming to Ceres, she was a fellow in the MIT-USGS Science Impact Collaborative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she focused on the role of science in multi-stakeholder resource planning and dispute resolution.
In her spare time, Sharlene writes about the springs of Texas on her blog Hell's Oasis, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Hill Country Alliance, which works to preserve the spectacular beauty and culture of the Texas Hill Country for the benefit of future generations. She also sits on the Advisory Council of the Environmental Science Institute at University of Texas at Austin.
She holds a BA in Physics and English from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Recent Blog Posts
Across the country, extreme weather is exposing the vulnerability of 20th century water infrastructure. his liability was brought into stark relief by a lawsuit brought by Farmers Insurance Co. against municipal sewage systems in the Chicago region for failing to invest in upgrades that could have prevented a monster rainstorm from spewing raw sewage into basements and streets.
Pricing is a powerful tool for shaping behavior, including water use. Recognizing the power of pricing, more water utilities are adopting water rates designed to encourage customers to conserve.
Today, President Obama visited California’s Central Valley, which may be in the midst of the driest winter in centuries.
Water utilities across the United States are planning major infrastructure investments in the coming decades. How much? The Environmental Protection Agency estimates about $300 billion will need to be spent by 2030 to keep our drinking water systems safe.
The costs of rebuilding our nation’s water infrastructure are jaw dropping: estimates range from $300 billion to $1 trillion needed over the next 30 years.