All human settlements depend on a supply of freshwater, but California has a uniquely complex and fragile system. The vulnerability of the state to changes in its water system and the potential to harm millions of lives makes it a compelling problem for me to work (in some small way) at solving.
I am drawn to the fact that California water resources is an incredibly multifaceted problem, and any solution to the ongoing challenges must leave room for technological solutions, policy innovation, and effective public communication. I am a naturally collaborative person, and despite daunting complexity, I like tackling a problem that must involve people with diverse professional backgrounds, needs, and ways of thinking. There are few other places or issues that that are so critical for the agricultural sector, the industrial sector, urban areas, and environmental groups.
I am also keenly interested in contributing to the growing problem of climate change, which is already altering the water cycle in the state. California has some of the most aggressive emissions goals in the country, but it is impossible to divorce water challenges from energy challenges, since water is used in energy production and vice versa. Improving water management is thus both necessary to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Tessa Maurer works with Steven Glaser, Roger Bales and Martha Conklin on headwaters information systems for accurate water accounting. She was also a member of the first UC Water Academy class in 2017.