Betsy Otto

Betsy Otto is currently a Fellow of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation. She spent ten years as a Senior Fellow and Director of the World Resources Institute’s Global Water Program, where she directed the development of Aqueduct™, a global water risk assessment and mapping platform in wide use by Global 500 companies, finance institutions, and international organizations. During her tenure, WRI’s water program tripled in size and scope to include a global body of work on nature-based solutions and innovative finance, corporate thought leadership, water, food and energy policy analysis, early warning prediction systems for water-driven conflicts, and work to help sub/national and city governments plan for future water and climate impacts. Among these efforts, she conceived and helped direct the Urban Water Resilience Initiative, working in African cities which will dominate the world’s largest cities by 2100.

Betsy has 30 years of experience working to promote global awareness of water challenges and solution, sound land and water planning, and 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. She speaks frequently on major podiums and has been featured in the BBC, Guardian, New York Times, Netflix Explained, and other media.

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.