News

7/7/2016

Originally published on Water Deeply 7/7/16.

California faces a host of water issues, which is why good policy leaders are important. In the first installment of our “Experts to Watch” series, here are nine people who are contributing to policy solutions in the state.

More than four years of drought in California have made the need for smart and forward-looking water policy initiatives abundantly clear. About 83 percent of the state is currently still in drought, according to the most...

7/6/2016

Originally published by our colleagues at the California Institute for Water Resources, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

Andy Fisher describing a managed aquifer recharge project in the Pajaro Valley of California.Photo: Michael Kiparsky. 

 

It's been a busy couple weeks for Andy Fisher, a hydrogeology professor at UC Santa Cruz. Two of his students presented research in Mexico while another finished his master's thesis and hurriedly returned to active...

7/12/2016

What will it take to successfully manage groundwater in California?

This was the topic of a recent workshop jointly held by UC Water and the PPIC Water Policy Center. The workshop brought together researchers, policy makers, and water managers to reflect on the challenges of implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in California’s Central Valley, the state’s leading agricultural region. Here are some key takeaways.

Groundwater recharge should become more...

5/19/2016

Erfan Goharian has only worked with UC Water for a few months but has made substantial contributions to the American-Cosumnes Rivers integrated modeling research program. 

And on May 18, 2016, Dr. Goharian earned top honors as the Best Speaker at the UC Davis Postdoctoral Research Symposium  for his talk on "Supported decision-making for Integrated Water Resources Management." Also known as IRWM, Goharian's research supports bringing together all the water-related pieces of the puzzle...

5/3/2016

Andrew Fisher, a UC Water director and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network, shared his views on the PPIC Blog regarding opportunities for compensating for groundwater recharge. In light of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Fisher is hopeful that net metering and other creative solutions will encourage a variety of groundwater users to contribute to groundwater recharge. 

Paying for Groundwater Recharge

Water levels in many of California’s groundwater...

4/14/2016
Water and Fire conference leads to policy position paper

When Californians stop watching for snow and start preparing for fires is a perfect time to focus on policy and adaptation.

The Institute on Science for Global Policy and California State University, Sacramento hosted a climate change conference to guide policy and science. Water and Fire: Impacts of Climate Change was a free and unique event that brought together five leading experts into a discussion forum with 200...

4/11/2016

Sierra-Net from CITRIS Media on Vimeo.

This article on Dr. Steven Glaser and soon-to-be Dr. Ziran Zhang was originally published on UC Berkeley's Engineering blog. It features UC Water investigators Steven Glaser and Roger Bales.

Ziran Zhang, a civil and environmental engineering Ph.D. candidate at Berkeley, is up ahead breaking trail. The movement of his snowshoes creates a crunch-drag, crunch-drag rhythm. It’s almost spring in the Sierra Nevada, and the bright sun gives...

4/11/2016
Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, April 2016. Sierra Nevada snow won't end California's Thrist

This article was originally published in The New York Times after Prof. Roger Bales and colleagues showed the reporter the state of the snow on 4/7/16. The article has been excerpted to feature UC Water researchers. Full article available online. 

Many of those concerns [about snow] stem from the effects fo climate change and the structure of Sierra forests, which can influence how the snowpack...

4/7/2016

UC Water  and UC Davis Climate Change, Water, and Society IGERT PhD candidate Alison Whipple has worked in the California Delta for many years, producing the San Francisco Estuary Institute's important and beautiful book titled Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Historical Ecology Study. In March 2016 that experience paid off. Whipple was awarded a prestigious Delta Science Fellowship to continue her research on achieving more functional landscapes through land-water interactions. Advised by Prof...

3/24/2016

Water Deeply, an independent digital media project dedicated to California's water crisis, provided a synopsis of the White House Water Summit and action plan on March 24, 2016.

In this weekly roundup, we analyze key developments in the California drought, including a White House Summit on water where the Obama administration issued a five-point plan for tackling water sustainability. We also look at calls for revolutionizing the collection of water data

White House Weighs in on...

3/22/2016

This article was featured on UC Merced News and reprinted in the Merced Sun-Star on March 22.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosted a water summit Tuesday featuring 200 organizations that are committed to conservation and adaptation, including the UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative, headquartered at UC Merced.

The summit was designed to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States, and to catalyze...

3/25/2016

This article was originally published on the front page of the Santa Cruz Sentinel on March 25, 2016 featuring UC Water director Andrew Fisher and his UCSC students and employees. 

WATSONVILLE, CA A historic 2014 law requiring water agencies across California to replenish the state's imperiled aquifers created a new problem: Many local officials just weren't sure how to do it.But this winter's abundant rains are triggering a flood of experiments that have turned the state's...

3/23/2016

This Letter to the Editor was originally published in the Los Angeles Times on March 23, 2016. 

To the editor: While showing images of recently refreshed reservoirs in the northern part of the state, The Times was right to make sure its readers knew that California's drought isn't over. What you see at the surface — in lakes and rivers — can belie what's underneath. ("Reservoirs are getting a big boost from 'Miracle March' — but the drought isn't over yet," March 18)

There is so...

3/22/2016
UC Water’s water-accounting system included in commitments

As part of the United Nations World Water Day, the White House held a Water Summit to highlight the nation’s greatest water security challenges and solutions.

Water leaders advocated for coordinated water information, specifically regional-state-federal coordination on investments and legislation, and interagency data sharing with non-profit organizations and universities.

In January 2016, the White House Office of Science...

3/22/2016
Summary: Today, as part of World Water Day, the White House is hosting a Water Summit to catalyze ideas and actions to build a sustainable water future in the United States.

This article was originally written on the White House Blog for World Water Day. UC Water was included the Call to Action for our work on water-accounting and groundwater management. 

Water challenges are facing communities and regions across the United States, impacting millions of lives and costing billions of...

3/9/2016

Cross-posting from the Environmental Law Prof Blog and Legal Planet Blog. This post was written by Dave Owen and Mike Kiparsky. It is based on a recent report, co-authored with Nell Green Nylen, Juliet Christian-Smith, Barb Cosens, Holly Doremus, Andrew Fisher, and Anita Milman.

[Full report]

Not that long ago, the opening words of one of Joe Sax’s articles described California pretty well. “We Don’t Do Groundwater,” the article’s title began, and until recently, that was true—in...

3/10/2016

Professor Andrew Fisher, UC Water UC Santa Cruz lead, was featured in Scientific American on sustainability. He shares new research on opportunities to improve groundwater. 

A network of basins and wells, designed by geologists, can channel storm runoff into natural underground vaults before it vanishes into the sea

As surface water has dwindled during California’s epic drought, desperate farmers and municipalities have staged a run on other sources: the state’s vast underground...

3/8/2016
“Designing Effective Groundwater Sustainability Agencies” is a how-to on managing an invisible, shared water resource during a drought

[Full Report] [Executive Summary]

Until now, California has never attempted to manage or regulate groundwater use.

Drilling new groundwater well, Planada, Ca, October 2015. 

But the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA) is historic legislation gives local entities the potential to bring their groundwater basins into sustainable...

3/3/2016

 

KQED Radio’s Forum hosted Professor Roger Bales to comment on the state of California’s water resources. Snowpack accounts for one third of the state’s water supply. On March 1, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released that the statewide snowpack is only 83% of normal.

Listen to audio.

Although it’s an El Nino year and northern California is experiencing more snow and rain than  in the previous four winters, the southern half of the Sierra Nevada has...

2/18/2016

Study of adjudicated groundwater basins shows less emphasis on sustainability, more on conflict resolution.

Court adjudication of California's groundwater basins is more often focused on resolving conflicts among water users and less on sustainable groundwater management, according to a UC Santa Cruz study commissioned by the State Water Resources Control Board.

The finding comes in “An Evaluation of California’s Adjudicated Groundwater Basins” scheduled for release today (Feb....

2/18/2016

A new report by the University of California, Santa Cruz evaluates the history and current condition of California's adjudicated groundwater basins and how management of these basins can be improved. Report

Prof. Ruth Langridge prepared the report at the request of the State Water Resources Control Board on basins that have made their underground water management decisions with the help of the courts. The report is an important and timely survey and analysis of all of California's...

2/1/2016

Amid Severe Drought, California Snowpack Hits 5-Year High was an interview by Jeremy Hobson, originally published on NPR on Jan. 27, 2016. 

Listen to the Here&Now podcast of Roger Bales' read on the snowpack. As a hydrologist at the University of California, Merced Sierra Nevada Research Institute, he cautions too much enthusiasm about El Nino by describing the reservoirs and long-term effects of drought. 

Across California, the snowpack is at 115 percent of the average for...

1/21/2016

BY ROGER BALES. ORIGINALLY PRINTED in The Modesto Bee.

Highlights:Yes, it's raining and snowing, but drought damages must be addressed.Subsidence is a serious issue in much of the Central Valley.Federal, state and local agencies need much greater cooperation. Land subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley, California, 1926-70. 

 

Yes, it’s nice to see snow, and those Californians dreaming of a white Christmas saw that dream come true in the Sierra. But dreaming isn’t going to solve the...

1/13/2016

Originally published on UC Merced University News by Lorena Anderson. The article focuses on Mohammad Safeeq, UC Water investigator and research faculty with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory. 

Shakespeare might have been right when he wrote “what’s past is prologue,” but not when it comes to modeling climate change.

A new study shows that rising air temperatures could have a crippling effect on the likelihood of precipitation...

1/11/2016

Originally Published on The California Aggie, UC Davis's entirely student-run publication.

UC schools collaborate in improving statewide water management, security

In December 2015, several researchers from the University of California (UC) gathered to create the UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative, an initiative which focuses on improving water management and sustainability in California.

According to Graham Fogg, a UC Davis professor of hydrogeology...

1/11/2016

Originally published on Viewpoints: The Public Policy Institute of California Blog

With El Niño making an impressive new year’s debut, talk of drought has turned to worries about floods. How will the state’s drought-starved ecosystems adapt to the taps being turned on again? We talked with Joshua Viers, an ecological engineer at UC Merced, co-director of UC Water, and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network, about California ecosystems’ response to flooding.

...

12/28/2015

Originally published on the AGU Blogosphere Geospace Earth and space sicence by UC Santa Cruz science communication graduate student Lindzi Wessel.

Depleted groundwater supplies in the parched state of California have left many communities scrambling to secure water for the future. Now, researchers have a plan to recharge groundwater aquifers in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties with runoff captured from rainstorms. Using models that carefully characterize the region, they produced maps...

12/21/2015

Originally published on the UC Davis Egghead Blog by Kat Kerlin.

It’s hard to manage what you don’t measure.

UC Davis is playing a major role in solving California’s biggest water woes by joining forces across the UC system. The UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative aims to account for all of California’s water, better understand how and where it flows, and help demonstrate how water can be managed differently to allow for greater water security.

To better...
12/12/2015

The American Geophysical Union is one of the largest scientific meetings and is convening in San Francisco, CA, December 14-18. UC Water will be sharing scientific findings every day. Follow along with @ucwater and #AGU15.

View all UC Water @ AGU 2015 presentations and posters:

bookletsingle-page   

UC Water posters will be shared on this site in January 2016. 

12/3/2015

 

Originally published by Environmental Monitor: Application and technology news for environmental professionals, this article features the work of UC Water collaborators Steven Glaser, Martha Conklin, Roger Bales and colleagues who established wireless technology to improve reservoir management. 

The Feather River in California is a main tributary of the Sacramento River. Fed by Lake Oroville to its north, the river runs for about 71 miles and is a large part of California’s...

12/2/2015

Originally published on Environmental Monitor: Application and technology news for environmental professionals, featuring the work of Steven Glaser who developed Metronome Systems workin the American River Hydrologic Observatory. 

The American River Hydrologic Observatory in California is the world’s largest wireless sensor network. But it wasn’t always that way.

The network, built with support from the National Science Foundation as part of the Southern Sierra Critical Zone...

11/17/2015

Originally published by Faith Kearns on The Confluence Blog.

How best to capture and store water for many different uses is a big question in California. After years of drought and now the looming possibility of a wet, El Niño-driven winter, safe-keeping any precipitation that does fall is a big priority for water managers. From reservoirs to tunnels to canals, the state's water infrastructure is vast and complicated. However, one approach with a lot of potential that has received...

11/13/2015

KQED Science covers The Secret Life of a Raindrop through focusing on the interdisciplinary network of studies on the critical zone--the zone where life meets rock. 

The Critical Zone Tree helps researchers trackwater that falls in the Sierra Nevada, throughthe forest and soils, to the valley. 

UC Merced professor and UC Water Director Roger Bales is also the lead Principal Investigator for the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory. His work includes 200 sensors around a tree which...

10/28/2015

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...

10/23/2015

 

UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative doubled its drought expertise by funding $210,000 in new research proposals. 

UC Merced is the lead institution of UC Water, and the grant program enables research in new areas and deepens understanding of how water is accounted for and used in the state. 

UC Water brings the unbiased power of the UC system to the state’s water challenges. 

“These challenge grants broaden the integration of UC Water's...

10/20/2015
10/21/2015
Campus gets $1.5 million to work on hydropower and thermoelectric cooling systems — two pieces of the much larger water-energy puzzle. By Lorena Anderson, University Communications Quick Facts:  UC Merced is part of a massive new water-energy research consortium that includes five UC campus and Chinese scientists, among others.   UC Merced’s latest research institute, known as UC Water, drew the Department of Energy’s attention. The grant, along with matching...
10/19/2015

Michelle Sneed is the recipient of the prestigious David Keith Todd Distinguished Lectureship and conducts much of her research on subsidence near Merced. UC Merced and UC Water are pleased to host a public lecture on this important groundwater resources and local issue. 

Land Subsidence: The Lowdown on the Drawdown Michelle Sneed Tuesday, October 27, 6:30pmCalifornia RoomUC Merced Merced, California

Parking after 6pm is complimentary. 

Students, join Michelle for...

10/21/2015
September 25, 2015 Note: This story originally ran in the Fall 2015 issue of UC Merced Magazine. By Joel Patenaude California, long envied by the rest of the country for its climate, beauty and natural resources, is four years into a drought and in the midst of a water crisis a century in the making. With Gov. Jerry Brown imposing mandatory water restrictions on residents, the state’s staggeringly complex water woes have taken the sheen off at least some of the...
9/17/2015

UC Merced celebrates A Decade of Excellence in the latest issue of the magazine of the University of California, Merced. It also celebrates three UC Merced researchers who lead the UC Water project: Director Roger Bales, Co-Director Joshua Viers, and UCM Campus Lead Martha Conklin.

The article highlights how data is at the center of water management: The drought is considered a crisis due to lack of water, but it has illustrated how the lack of information to appropriately manage the...

7/21/2015

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is holding its 2015 Fall Meeting this December 14-18. AGU invites researchers to consider submitting an abstract to the following broadly designed special session on Western U.S. groundwater management (Session ID#: 9147). The deadline is August 5th.

Drought, Groundwater Management, and Long-term Groundwater Sustainability in the Western United States: Assessment, Monitoring, Modeling, Planning, Management, and Policy

Much of the Western...