UC Water shares interdisciplinary views at Environmental Law Conference

October 28, 2015

UC Water had a strong presence at the State Bar of California Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite. Three directors represented the project's multi-faceted approach through panel discussions and a field trip.  

Michael Kiparsky visited the high elevations to discuss groundwater resources. He shared his institutional expertise from the Wheeler Institute for Water Law and Policy at Berkeley Law in a panel, "Going Underground: Local Governance and Planning Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act." The panel addressed the critical question of SGMA's long-term implementation: "Can progress arrive in time to prevent destructive races to the bottom of groundwater basins?" 

Kiparsky on Cathedral Peak, Tuolumne Meadows. Credit: Nick Fowler
Between conference sessions, Kiparsky roped up to climb the granite of Cathedral Peak with friend Nick Fowler


UC Merced Professor Joshua Viers shared his perspectives in a panel on "Reliability, Restoration and Resilience in Water Planning: Relearning the Three Rs in an Era of Climate Change." He joined Debbie Davis-Franco from the Governor's Office of Planning and Research, and representatives from the California Farm Bureau Federation, and Planning and Conservation League in a discussion of California's Water Action Plan and climate change. Viers will continue to work on water planning and prioritization through improved information with UC Water. 

On a sunny Saturday, UC Merced Professor and UC Water Director Roger Bales shared his expertise of high-elevation watersheds through a field trip, "Water Cycle Implications of Headwater Management and Forest Restoration," to the upper Merced River. Showing the effects of the drought on forests is the beginning of adapting to climate change. Bales's trip illustrated the opportunities to improve forest restoration and water supply by appropriately managing the Sierra Nevada. 

UC Berkeley and UC Water research associate Nell Green Nylen studies groundwater management from a law perspective also attended the conference. 

UC Water approaches each water question by examining barriers and opportunities in institutions, infrastructure and information, from the top of the watershed to the base of the aquifer. The UC Water panel discussions and field trip are exemplary of an integrated and engaged approach to California's water resources.