Water and Planning Network


Over the last several years, APA's Water Working Group has been working to identify the needs and priorities of and provide resources to planners who are focused on water issues in their communities. As the Water Working Group sunsets in 2017, its members are forming an Interest Group — the Water and Planning Network.

The Water and Planning Network was officially launched at the 2017 National Planning Conference, where the work of the Water Working Group transitioned to the Water and Planning Network.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Water and Planning Network (WPN) is to provide a professional forum for the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and planning methods and will operate as a communications and information sharing network to connect members to the best planning practices that reflect current research, science, policy and technology regarding the protection, management and use of water resources and utilities.

Water is essential to life and the natural environment. It should be a central organizing element in a healthy and sustainable built environment, making planning for water an inherently interdisciplinary activity. Planners play a key role in shaping the location and form of development and conservation of the natural environment, as well as a natural role as conveners across disciplines.

The WPN will:

  • Promote a deeper understanding among planners about water science and engineering, and the ways in which land use, land development, and urban design significantly affect the health and integrity of the water environment.
  • Provide opportunities for planners to improve core skills, toolsets, and methods in order to manage water more sustainably and more equitably.
  • Create better and more frequent connections and engagement between planners, design professionals, and water professionals by establishing new mechanisms for interdisciplinary interaction.
  • Advance planning methods and interactions that support an integrated approach to water management, known as "One Water" management.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee serves as the Executive Committee for the Water and Planning Network. The committee provides opportunities for members to actively engage with the WPN. Steering Committee members shape activities, outreach, education, and content that help build connections between planners and water professionals and provide planners with opportunities to improve their skillsets related to water.

The committee is responsible for identifying and implementing activities that will help advance the goals of WPN, including planning an annual get together at the National Planning Conference.

The members of the Steering Committee have a wide range of backgrounds and represent planners and water professionals working in many different fields of water management. Below are background summaries for the Steering Committee. Please reach out to the Water + Planning Network should you have questions we may be able to help you with.

Steering Committee Members


Bill Cesanek, AICP, is Co-Leader of the APA Water + Planning Network. He is a Vice President and a Practice Leader for urban infrastructure planning at CDM Smith, with over 30 years of experience in water resource planning and management, land use planning, and GIS and information technology. He has also served as an adjunct professor in the Rutgers Bloustein Graduate School of Planning and Policy since 2012, teaching Infrastructure Planning.

Mary Ann Dickinson is the Co-Leader of the APA Water and Planning Network. She was the founder and President/CEO for 15 years of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the efficient and sustainable use of water in the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Chicago, the Alliance works with over 520 water utilities, water conservation professionals in business and industry, planners, regulators, and consumers. In 2014 the Alliance won the U.S. Water Prize in the non-profit category for its work. She now heads up a consulting firm as the CEO of Dickinson Associates.

Committee Members

Corinne Anderson is a graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver pursuing a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning. Some of her research interests are Colorado Water Law, precipitation catchment systems, drought management, and sustainable infrastructure that takes into consideration the recycling of gray water. Needless to say, she is passionate about the intersections of water and planning, particularly in the West. Before changing careers, Corinne worked as a journalist for six years in Denver, Colorado, publishing more than 500 articles on a variety of topics ranging from immersive art trends to voter-friendly ballot guides.

Kristen Keener Busby, AICP is the Associate Director for Practice and Partnerships with the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, a center of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, where she helps build capacity for communities to implement meaningful policies and practical solutions for integrated land use and water planning. Kristen has 25 years of planning and policy experience in sustainability, community development, infrastructure, and natural resources. Kristen led technical assistance initiatives for the Urban Land Institute in Arizona and worked in various community development roles for the State of Arizona. She is a recognized leader in smart growth and has a passion for growing and leveraging strategic public and private partnerships to help communities solve complex land use challenges. Kristen received a Bachelor of Science in Public and Environmental Affairs from Indiana University and a Master of Environmental and Urban Planning from Arizona State University.

Danielle Gallet is Founding Principal of Waterwell, LLC a planning and strategy firm in the water sector. She is a water resource strategist, urban planner, and educator who combines her expertise in the water, planning, business, and arts industries to equitably and holistically address today's complex water challenges. Danielle is also an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she teaches a planning course titled Water and the Built Environment. She is the former Director of Water Resources for the Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago. As an original member of APA's National Water Working Group, she happily joined the Water and Planning Network as a Steering Committee member in 2021. Danielle has a BA in Business Management and an MA in Urban Planning and Policy.

Brett Gracely, PE, D.WRE is the Practice Leader for Water Resources Planning and Management and Business Unit Leader for Environmental Resource Management at LRE Water. His broad, 30-year experience base includes integrated resource and infrastructure planning, natural resource management, and sustainable environmental stewardship with the understanding that it is all connected. He has been a member of the APA Water + Planning Network since 2018.

Kevin Kluge is the Water Conservation Manager at Austin Water, overseeing water conservation incentive and compliance programs. Prior to his position with Austin Water, he spent over 20 years with the Texas Water Development Board, culminating in the role of Director of Conservation and Innovative Water Technologies. Kevin holds a master of science in natural resource utilization and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Paul Lander has a PhD in Geography, a Masters of Landscape Architecture, and is LEED-AP certified. Paul has been engaged in resource-conservation work for more than 40 years, with a particular focus on urban landscapes and water systems. He is active in the professional associations of the American Water Resources Association, the Alliance for Water Efficiency, and the American Planning Association. He is also currently Associate Professor Adjunct of the Department of Geography, and Faculty of the Masters of the Environment Program, both at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he teaches about sustainable systems.

Valerie Miller, PhD, AICP is an Industry Expert for Water at Olsson. She has over 18 years of experience in planning, research, project management for local and state government. Valerie's focus is on drought and flooding issues and has developed short-term and long-term strategy plans. She enjoys working on projects involving multiple stakeholder groups and complex, and large-scale visioning, cross-functional collaboration, and strategy management and implementation. Valerie specializes in bringing people together and writing effective policy, while ensuring the character of the community is kept. She also forecasts potential hazards that could impact communities to better prevent long-term damage. Valerie has a Bachelor Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning, M.S., Water Management & Hydrologic Science, and Ph.D., Public Administration.

Kyle Mucha, AICP is a planning consultant with McKenna, a planning and design firm located in Michigan. He works with Village's, Township's and larger municipalities updating master plans, parks & recreation plans, zoning ordinances and other planning related activities. Kyle has experience working both in the public and private sectors as it relates to community development, utilities, and recreation. He holds a Master's in Geography (Regional Planning) from Western Michigan University.

Brian Murphy is the River Network's Healthy Rivers Program Manager in the Colorado River Basin. He provides technical assistance to coalitions, local governments, and other organizations across the Colorado River Basin working in the river health and resilient communities' space. Dr. Murphy leads the integrated river management (IRM) program that supports local leaders working to ensure their communities and rivers are healthy and resilient into the future. He also works on watershed and stream management planning across Colorado, emphasizing community-based river values, nature-based solutions, and land conservation policies. He has worked in the water resources engineering and river science field for over 20 years as a licensed professional engineer. Brian holds a BS from Santa Clara University, a MS from Colorado School of Mines, and a PhD from Colorado State University.

Manohar "Manny" Patole is the Co-City Fellow and Project Manager in the Co-City project with NYU's Marron Institute and Georgetown's LabGov Initiative. As the Co-City Fellow and Project Manager he collaborates with Co-City principals in applying and adapting the Co-City protocol in Baton Rouge with the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority. He earned his Master of Urban Planning from NYU Wagner. In addition, he graduated as part of the inaugural class of the joint venture between UNESCO's Institute for Water Education and University of Dundee's Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, specializing in Water Governance and Conflict Resolution and Water Conflict Management.

Rocky Piro, PhD, FAICP, is Executive Director of the Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism at the University of Colorado Denver. He also serves as Associate Professor in the College of Architecture and Planning. Previously he was the Manager for Planning and Community Development in Denver and Program Manager for Growth Management at the Puget Sound Regional Council in Seattle. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Urban Planning and Environment Association, and past chair for the Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division of the American Planning Association. Dr. Piro earned a doctorate in Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington. He is a recipient of the Myer Wolfe Award for Excellence in Planning and was inducted in the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Ray Quay, FAICP is a Research Professional with the Decision Center for a Desert City, a unit of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, where he does research and community engagement on planning under conditions of high uncertainty, sustainable water management in the Colorado River Basin, and adaptation to climate change including changes in water resources and urban heat. Previously he was the Assistant Director of Water Services and Assistant Director of Planning for Phoenix Arizona, and Assistant Director of Planning for Arlington and Galveston Texas. He holds a BS from Baylor University, a MS from University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD from Arizona State University.

David Rouse, FAICP, ASLA is a consultant, educator, and author with 40 years of experience in urban and regional planning and design. He previously was the Managing Director of Research and Advisory Services for the American Planning Association in Washington, DC and before that a principal at Wallace Roberts & Todd in Philadelphia. David's areas of expertise include comprehensive planning; parks and open space planning; green infrastructure; and planning for emerging technologies.

Rachelle Sanderson is a changemaker who sees our human capacity to utilize our greatest challenges as opportunities to change our world for the better. Living and doing climate adaptation work in Southeast Louisiana provides her with ample opportunities to transform challenges of rising seas, land loss, more intense storms, and grappling with what it means to be faced with losing your home into opportunities to reimagine a future on our own terms. She believes that by reframing our challenges as opportunities for a more just future, we can utilize the climate crisis as our vehicle to change the world.

Harpreet Sandhu, AICP is the Leader of Watershed Strategy for the City of Calgary, Alberta Canada. Her responsibilities include leading the development of strategic water management plans and policies in the areas of source water protection, waterways protection, drought management and water security. She was previously the Director of Planning and Community Development for Skamania County, Washington, where she was responsible for various land use and watershed planning functions including salmon recovery efforts along the lower Columbia River.

Shannon Spurlock is a senior researcher for public policy & practice uptake at the Pacific Institute. She develops and implements strategies for advancing policies and practices on priority topics for the organization, with a focus on scaling the integration of approaches with multiple benefits into public policy and planning. Additionally, Shannon has extensive community-driven food systems experience and has led policy change at the local and state level.

Scott Turner, PE, AICP is Director of Planning at Environmental Partners in Quincy, Massachusetts. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners as well as a registered professional engineer in 6 states. He is currently a member of the Water and Planning Network Steering Committee, past Chair of APA's Sustainable Communities Division and local host Committee Chair for the 2021 National Planning Conference in Boston. He has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Tufts University and a Master's of Science in City Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His work focuses on stormwater planning and design, green infrastructure, and resilience.

Scott Williamson, AICP iis the Land Use and Water Planner for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. He convenes and supports collaborative projects of the Colorado Water and Land Use Planning Alliance, works across state agencies to advance implementation of the Colorado Water Plan, and provides technical assistance to local governments. Scott is driven to develop the capacity of individuals and communities to envision their own future, through education and collaboration with previous roles at Water Education Colorado, Denver Public Schools, Puget Sound Partnership, and Seattle Public Utilities. Scott earned a BA in Environmental Studies and Biology from St. Olaf College and a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Washington.


Email water@planning.org if you are interested in joining the Water and Planning Network.

Newsletter Archive

Check out our past Water and Planning Network newsletters.

Water and Planning Connect

In September 2018, the WPN co-sponsored APA's first two-day topical conference, Water and Planning Connect. All may view the session PowerPoints.