Lauren was a co-founder of the Internet of Water and continues to spend a portion of her time on this exciting project. Lauren is a senior water policy associate at the Nicholas Institute where she explores a variety of data-driven policy questions, such as what are the impacts of: floodplain policy on development, different financing mechanisms for watershed protection, human development on aquatic species, a changing energy sector on water withdrawals, and the performance of reservoir operations under changing conditions. She is also a co-organizer and rapporteur of the annual Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum, which brings together some of the world’s foremost thought leaders each year around the future of water and where the idea for an Internet of Water first originated in 2015. Lauren’s previous work experience includes time at RTI and the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Chapel Hill (UNC). Despite entirely lacking a sense of direction, she has a Ph.D. in geography from UNC.
Lauren’s career has focused on bringing together data to better understand the impacts and effectiveness of policies and management efforts on water resources. Lauren is passionate about visualizing and communicating data in a manner that resonates with an audience and can help generate new conversations around an issue. Her desire is to (1) work with others to improve our water data infrastructure so the data can be found and used, (2) apply those data to explore how water resources are changing and responding to current policy decisions, and (3) collaboratively create resources (tools and communications material) that translates the data into a usable format for decision-makers and key stakeholders. If you’d like to explore some of these visualizations you can! Have fun looking at changes in different environmental and societal indicators across the U.S. and how U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs have met their reservoir level goals over time.