The U.S. Water Partnership with support from FSG, Inc.convened a webinar on addressing water security with the collective impact approach. The webinar was presented by Dr. Arani Kajenthira Grindle on Tuesday, July 26, 2016.



Achieving water security is a complex challenge. Across the U.S. and around the world, communities are struggling to balance water usage between four competing needs: human well-being, economic activities, ecosystem health, and climate resilience. Yet many of our typical responses – rationing, price increases, infrastructure investment,  or new management approaches – are falling short. Achieving a long-term, sustainable balance between competing needs at a watershed level requires a combination of strong governance structures, adequate financing, and structured cooperation between cities, regions, and states, as well as basin-level water users, most easily developed through open and inclusive dialogue, and shared decision making.

The collective impact model for structured collaboration offers a new approach to address complex problems such as water security. It recognizes that such complex social challenges are not caused – and therefore cannot be solved – by any single sector, agency, or organization. It builds on more traditional partnership models in the water sector such as integrated water resources management (IWRM), bringing the government, nonprofit, philanthropic, and corporate sectors together as equal partners with community-level water users to actively coordinate efforts, change behavior, and share lessons learned.

This webinar provides a brief introduction to the collective impact approach, describes the necessary mindset shifts for successful collaboration, and offers concrete examples of how this model can enhance existing partnerships in the water sector.


Arani Kajenthira Grindle, PhD
Associate Director, FSG, Inc.

Arani is based in FSG’s Boston office and has extensive experience engaging and advising philanthropic, nonprofit, and corporate actors in their strategic planning and collaborative efforts.

At present, Arani is managing two global collective impact engagements; one is focused on addressing human slavery, land rights, and environmental degradation issues in the Brazilian Amazon, while the other aims to address child welfare and protection issues in Cambodia. Over the past year, Arani has also managed and supported three other collective impact initiatives: improving early childhood education outcomes in Houston, Texas; increasing social mobility in Israel; and improving maternal and infant health outcomes in Staten Island, NY.

Prior to FSG, Arani was Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she managed research projects focused on the water use implications of food and energy production in arid states, particularly in the Middle East. In this role, she also specifically explored water security and management challenges in the São Francisco river basin in Northeast Brazil. Arani has practical experience in environmental consulting from GeoSyntec, and multiple years of international development experience from her involvement with Engineers Without Borders.

A Rhodes Scholar, Arani holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford focused on the remediation and risk management of mercury-contaminated groundwater, and a B.Sc. in Biological Engineering from the University of Guelph (Canada).

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