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 Co-Leader of the APA Water + Planning Network. She is the President and CEO 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. In 2014 the Alliance won the U.S. Water Prize in the non-profit category for its work. Mary Ann has over 40 years of experience, having worked at the California Urban Water Conservation Council, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Mary Ann is past Chair of the Efficient Urban Water Management Specialist Group for the International Water Association, past Chair of the American Water Works Association National Water Conservation Division, past President of the California Irrigation Institute, and past President of the Lake Arrowhead Community Services District.

Committee Members

Melissa Dickens, AICP has approximately 13 years of experience in water resources and comprehensive planning in the Tampa Bay area. She currently serves as the Strategic Planning and Policy Manager with the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission in Tampa. Her team is responsible for interfacing with the potable water, wastewater and stormwater professionals to develop countywide policy, and she recently led a cross-disciplinary and cross-agency initiative to develop a One Water approach to the Hillsborough County Comprehensive Plan update. She holds a Master's in City and Regional Planning with a concentration in Environmental Planning and Growth Management from the University of Pennsylvania. Melissa also serves as the Director of Membership for APA's Women & Planning Division and is the past Chair of APA Florida's Sun Coast Section.

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.

Claire Jubb, AICP, CFM is the Assistant County Administrator for Charlotte County, Florida, a coastal and riverine community on the southwest coast of Florida. Claire has been a leader in community development, floodplain management and water quality management for 13 years. She is the Legislative Director and Treasurer for the Florida Floodplain Managers Association and is part of the steering committee creating the South West Florida Regional Resiliency Compact. Claire is the team lead for the County's One Charlotte One Water program – the county's water quality initiative and sits on the Management Committee for the Coastland and Heartland National Estuary Program.

Kevin Kluge is the Director of Conservation and Innovative Water Technologies (CIWT) at the Texas Water Development Board. The CIWT division focuses on municipal and agricultural conservation, brackish groundwater mapping, and a handful of alternative water supplies, including desalination, reuse, aquifer storage and recovery, and rainwater harvesting. Kevin has been with the Board since 1999. Prior to becoming CIWT Director, he oversaw the development of water use estimates and population/water demand projections utilized in the state water plan and was the project manager for three of the state's regional water planning groups.

Rosa Lehman, AICP, is a Senior Water Resources Planner for the Bureau of Environmental Services at the City of Portland. She works at the nexus of urban planning and public infrastructure to protect public health and the environment.

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.

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.

Erin Rugland is a research fellow at the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy. She has led the Babbitt Center's comprehensive plan evaluation project since its inception and is a co-author of Best Practices for Implementing Water Conservation and Demand Management Through Land Use Planning Efforts: Addendum to 2012 Guidance Document, adopted by the State of Colorado in 2019; and Incorporating Water into Comprehensive Planning: A Manual for Land Use Planners in the Colorado River Basin. She has dual B.S. degrees in Public Policy and Justice Studies from Arizona State University.

Harpreet Sandhu, AICP is the Team Lead of the Water Resource Strategy team at 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.

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.


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


Water and Planning Connect

In September 2018, the WPN co-sponsored APA's first two-day topical conference, Water and Planning Connect. AICP members who were at the conference may claim CM credit for the educational sessions they attended. All may view the session PowerPoints.