Christina Babbitt

Director, Climate Resilient Water Systems


Areas of expertise:
Water resources management, water policy, groundwater, water trading, adaptive management and resilience of impaired watersheds, institutional design and governance, strategic planning.

Christina Babbitt manages the California Groundwater Program at Environmental Defense Fund, where she works to advance and scale groundwater sustainability policies and practices across the Central Valley. In these efforts, Christina focuses on building partnerships among NGOs, agencies, water districts and agricultural partners in ways that enhance collective impact. She currently serves on the California Water Data Consortium Steering Committee; the advisory committee of the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy; and the board of the Aquaya Institute, a nonprofit research and consulting organization dedicated to advancing global health through universal access to safe water and sanitation.

Christina’s past research has focused on sustainable water resources management in stressed watersheds within the western U.S., Europe and eastern Africa.


Prior to joining EDF, Christina worked as a senior associate at Blue Earth Consultants, LLC in Oakland, California, where she specialized in natural resource management and governance, institutional design and effectiveness, and strategic planning.

Previously, Christina held positions with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Services Center in Oakland, California, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water in Washington, D.C.


  • Ph.D., Natural Resources, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  • M.Sc., Environmental Science & Certificate in Geographic Information Systems, Florida International University
  • B.A., International Relations, Rollins College


J. Rouillard,C. Babbitt,M. Pulido-Velazquez,J.-D. Rinaudo. 2021. Transitioning out of Open Access: A Closer Look at Institutions for Management of Groundwater Rights in France, California, and Spain.

Garner, E., R. McGlothlin, L. Szeptycki, C. Babbitt, and V. Kincaid. 2020. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and the Common Law of Groundwater Rights—Finding a Consistent Path Forward for Groundwater Allocation. UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy.

Goodspeed, R., C. Babbitt, A. L. G. Briones, E. Pfleiderer, C. Lizundia, and C. Seifert. 2020. Learning to Manage Common Resources: Stakeholders Playing a Serious Game See Increased Interdependence in Groundwater Basin Management. 

Fakhreddine, S., C. Babbitt, A. Sherris, A. Lopez, A. Wells, R. Holmes, S. Fendorf, T. Bruton, P. Nico. 2019. Protecting Groundwater Quality in California: Management Considerations for Avoiding Naturally Occurring and Emerging Contaminants.

Babbitt, C., D. Dooley, M. Hall, R. Moss, D. Orth, G. Sawyers. 2018. Groundwater Pumping Allocations under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Considerations for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies.

Hall, M., C. Babbitt, A. Saracino & S. Leake. 2018. Addressing Regional Surface Water Depletions in California: A Proposed Approach for Compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Babbitt, C., K. Gibson, S. Sellers, N. Brozović, A. Saracino, A. Hayden, M. Hall & S. Zellmer. 2018. The Future of Groundwater in California: Lessons in Sustainable Management from Across the West.

Babbitt, C., M. Hall, A. Hayden, A. Briones, R. Young & N. Brozović. 2017. Groundwater Trading as a Tool for Implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Cairns, C., M. Armsby, C. Hoffman, & M. Wood. 2009. Collaborative Geospatial Information and Tools for California Coastal and Ocean Managers.

Bleed, A. and C. Hoffman Babbitt. 2015. Nebraska’s Legal and Institutional Framework and the Evolution of Local Control: An Assessment of Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts.[PDF] Water for Food Institute – University of Nebraska.

Babbitt, C., M. Burbach, and L. Pennisi. 2015. A Mixed Methods Approach to Assessing Success in Transitioning Water Management Institutions: A Case Study of the Platte River Basin, Nebraska. Ecology and Society 20(1):54.

Birge H., C. Allen, R. Craig, A. Garmestani, J. Hamm, C. Babbitt, K. Nemec, and E. Schlager. 2014. Social-Ecological Resilience and Law in the Platte River Basin, Idaho Law Review 51(1), 229-256.

Chan, J. and C. Babbitt. 2014. Exploring the Politics of Pork: Industrial Hog Farming and the Role of Local Newspaper Coverage in State Agenda Setting. Great Plains Research 24(1), 59-69.

Nemec, K. T., J. Chan, C. Hoffman, T. L. Spanbauer, J. A. Hamm, C. R. Allen, T. Hefley, D. Pan, and P. Shrestha. 2013. Assessing Resilience in Stressed Watersheds. Ecology and Society 19(1): 34.

Hoffman, C. and S. Zellmer. 2013. Integration and Adaptability: Assessing Institutional Ability for Adaptive Water Resources Management, Nebraska Law Review 91: 805-865.

Hoffman, C., A. Melesse, & M. McClain. 2011. Geospatial Mapping and Analysis of Water Availability, Demand, and Use within the Mara River Basin. In A. M. Melesse, (Ed.), Nile River Basin: Hydrology, Climate and Water. (pp. 359-382). Netherlands: Springer.

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