Betsy Otto is the Director of WRI’s Global Water Program. Over the past several years at WRI, she has led development of Aqueduct™, a global water risk assessment and mapping tool to inform private and public sector investment and water management decisions. Betsy works with the Water Program team to develop and apply tools and information, and to engage business, NGOs and governments for positive change in managing water resources worldwide. Betsy also works with staff across WRI to incorporate water considerations and sustainable solutions for cities, energy, governance, finance, and climate adaptation purposes.
Betsy has over 20 years of experience working on water resource management, ecosystem protection, and urban water systems. Over the past two decades, she has worked to promote sound land and water planning and urban water infrastructure systems that incorporate upstream ecosystem services, green infrastructure designs in cities, and integrate drinking water, stormwater and wastewater management. Prior to joining WRI, Betsy developed successful clean water and water supply programs for American Rivers in Washington, DC, where she worked closely with mayors, utilities, federal agencies and Congress to promote smart water policies and drive public and private investment toward more sustainable water infrastructure solutions.
Betsy earned a Masters in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute, a MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, and a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois. From 2006-2007, she was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where she studied international water management, urban infrastructure, and water and sanitation issues.
Watch an interview of Betsy on E&E TV: WRI's Otto assesses China's water risk.
Cape Town is running out of water. After three years of intense drought, South Africa’s second-largest city is just a few months away from “Day Zero,” the day when the city government will shut off water taps for most homes and businesses. The impacts ...