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Pat Mulroy to Be Named Senior Fellow at UNLV's Brookings Mountain West

Former SNWA leader will also focus on water resource management and environmental issues through faculty appointment at Desert Research Institute
Campus News  |  Apr 15, 2014  |  By UNLV Media Relations
Media Contact: Tony Allen (UNLV): 702-895-0893; Catherine Schell (DRI): 702-862-5411

Senior Fellow for Climate Adaptation and Environmental Policy at UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West. (Aaron Mayes/UNLV Photo Services)

Patricia Mulroy, who oversaw the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s development during the region’s greatest period of growth, will be named Senior Fellow for Climate Adaptation and Environmental Policy at UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West

Mulroy will also serve as a senior fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington, D.C., and she will work on environmental and water issues through a faculty appointment with the Desert Research Institute.

As a senior fellow with Brookings, Mulroy will lead research and policy development efforts for Brookings Mountain West in areas related to environment, water and growth. She’ll draw on her extensive expertise to engage community and government leaders to find new and better ways to address environmental challenges affecting the Southwest.

“I see this position as a way to continue contributing to the work we have done here in Southern Nevada, being a world leader in developing sound water policies and management practices during a period of tremendous growth in the Southwest region,” said Mulroy, who will be based in Las Vegas and make regular visits to Brookings’ main office in Washington, D.C.  “It’s an honor to be affiliated with Brookings and I’m excited about my role.” 

Mulroy served as general manager of SNWA from 1993 until retiring in February 2014. She also served as the general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District from 1989 until her retirement.

“Pat Mulroy is a nationally recognized figure with more than two decades of work in the area of sustainability,” said William Antholis, managing director of the Brookings Institution. “We are excited to have Pat join our team of experts and look forward to the contributions she will make in shaping public policy in her field of study, both in Las Vegas and in Washington, D.C.  And we think she will also be a world class resource to our offices in China, India and in the Middle East, where Pat’s issues are high priorities.” 

Robert Lang, UNLV Director of Brookings Mountain West observed, “Pat Mulroy brings a wealth of knowledge and public policy experience to this important topic. No one is better qualified to address the implications for local, state, and national policy decisions.”

Mulroy will also be working with the Desert Research Institute on similar environmental issues, in addition to the application of technology in water resource management.  She will hold the Maki Distinguished Faculty Associate position where she will be the Program Lead for Water Resources and Technology with an emphasis on the Nevada Center of Excellence. This position will also be responsible for helping to develop DRI research programs in water resource development, management, technology and related areas in the environmental sciences at the state, national and international level.

“Pat is known globally for the work she has led in water management in Southern Nevada and she will be a tremendous asset for DRI,” said Dr. Stephen Wells, DRI’s President. “I look forward to her leadership working with our hydrologists at DRI.”

Mulroy is known as the key architect in developing SNWA, which not only kept up with Southern Nevada’s explosive growth since the late 1980s, but also dealt with the Colorado River’s perpetual drought during the past 15 years. She maintained a national presence while running one of the country’s most progressive water agencies, negotiating numerous agreements with her neighbors on the Colorado River, including international agreements with Mexico.

“This agreement is an example of how higher-education institutions can work collaboratively to benefit the communities, students and all stakeholders,” said UNLV President Donald Snyder.  “I have tremendous respect for Pat and know this arrangement will have a positive impact on UNLV and education as a whole.”

MGM Resorts International and Barrick Gold will serve as founding donors for this important position. These two global business leaders are providing generous support to ensure that Nevada benefits from Pat Mulroy's leadership and expertise on matters of climate change and environmental policy.

“The sustainability of our environment, and our communities, is core to our collective society’s security, quality of life and economic advancement,” said Jim Murren, Chairman & CEO of MGM Resorts International. “The addition of this important resource will help Brookings to continue its reputation of providing thoughtful solutions to one of the most dynamic issues of our day.”

“The Brookings Institution, through the Brookings Mountain West partnership at UNLV, brings world-class thinking to public policy discussions in Nevada,” says Michael Brown, Vice President and Executive Director of Barrick Gold. “The addition of a senior position for the study of climate and environmental policy will support a more robust and meaningful public conversation on the responsible development and protection of natural resources in Nevada and throughout the West.”    

Mulroy has served as treasurer of the Water Research Foundation Board of Trustees, and remains on the Board as a member emeritus.  She also served as president of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, was the original chairperson of the Western Urban Water Coalition, and served on the board of directors for the National Water Resources Association and Colorado River Water Users Association.  She was also a member of the American Water Works Association. As general manager for the Las Vegas Valley Water District, Mulroy was instrumental in the creation of the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, which opened in 2007.   

About Brookings Mountain West

Brookings Mountain West was formed in 2009 as a partnership between the Brookings Institution and UNLV. Brookings Mountain West brings high‐quality independent and influential public policy research to the critical issues facing the dynamic metropolitan areas of the Mountain West region. It builds upon the work of Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program, which focuses on helping metropolitan areas grow in robust, inclusive, and sustainable ways through attention to the fundamental drivers of prosperity such as innovation, infrastructure, human capital, and quality of place, as well as regional governance. Together with partners throughout the Mountain West, Brookings Mountain West takes a deep interest in such areas as infrastructure improvement, economic growth, demographic change, environmental impact, alternative energy, and real estate investment.

About Desert Research Institute (DRI)

Desert Research Institute (DRI) is the environmental research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE). DRI conducts cutting-edge applied research in air, land and life, and water quality across Nevada, the United States and on every continent. With more than 500 employees and two main campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, DRI generates $50 million in total annual revenue. DRI excels in global basic and applied research and the application of technologies to improve people's lives throughout Nevada and the world. DRI applies scientific understanding to the management of natural resources to meet Nevada's needs for economic diversification and science-based educational opportunities. In support of this, DRI leads the collaboration efforts of NSHE institutions in the Nevada Center of Excellence (COE). In conjunction with the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the COE serves as a basis for public and private sector collaboration that will help to accelerate workforce and economic development across the State of Nevada. The COE will be engaged in three fundamental activities: (1) providing integrated solutions to customers, (2) providing commercialization pathways, and (3) building a membership of leading water organizations.

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Patricia Mulroy.