- Author: Jennifer Caron-Sale
The committee was carefully selected to represent the diverse stakeholder interests of the institute. Through a variety of inputs during an assessment phase, which included several stakeholder surveys, committee members gathered information to help identify the strengths, opportunities and challenges of the organization to help formulate the plan. The final plan is a living document, which will be used as a flexible framework to develop annual priorities and evaluate progress.
The mission of the California Institute for Water Resources is to integrate California's research, extension and higher education programs to develop and communicate research‐based solutions to water resource challenges. CIWR directly impacts California water issues through research and extension programs. The institute keeps its partners informed through its website, newsletter, blog and social media outlets and actively contributes, shapes and diversifies the conversation on California water issues. Meeting the objectives set forth in its strategic plan will increase the effectiveness of CIWR in helping California meet its future water challenges.
CIWR identified five strategic goals to focus on over the next five years:
- Foster and incubate research and extension focused on California's critical water challenges.
- Engage with and convene the water community to define and address California's water challenges.
- Enhance communication and engagement capacity and increase visibility.
- Strengthen the relationship between CIWR and UC ANR.
- Increase resources to better incubate research and engage the water community.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
UC scientists, students and water agency professionals took a critical look inwards and a radical look outwards when they gathered in Sacramento in October to reimagine California water.
The event was the fourth annual gathering sponsored by UC ANR's California Institute for Water Resources and the University of California Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative, UC Water.
While science is the hallmark of a research-oriented institution like UC, the participants were asked to recognize their important role not just as scientists but also communicators.
“We have a big role in educating the public,” said Roger Bales, engineering professor at UC Merced who has been active in water and climate research for more than 30 years. “Scientists are political actors. Facts do not speak for themselves.”
Felicia Marcus, chair of the California Water Resources Control Board and a conference panelist, asked the scientists to make their work accessible, and if they are uncomfortable with plain language, “write it both ways.”
“Complexity can lose people easily,” she said.
The conference keynote speaker, futurist Kim Stanley Robinson, also addressed the divide between scientific discourse and popular understanding, in particular when speaking about climate change.
“There is a strange disconnect between what the scientific community is telling the world and what the world is hearing. As a result of data analysis, science is announcing to the world there is climate change. Individuals cannot perceive climate change,” he said. “Show them in ways that can be understood by the senses. The story has to be told with pragmatism and common sense.”
The Reimagining California Water Conference pursued the water journey from the high-mountain headwaters of the Sierra Nevada to the vast groundwater basins in the valleys below. Over the last century, the mountains were blanketed with snow each winter, storing water that melted slowly in the spring and summer to provide a reliable source of water for farming and communities below. However, climate change is telling a new tale. Warmer weather means less snow and more rain will fall on the mountains during the winter. The quick runoff must be managed in a way that preserves it for use in the summer.
“We need groundwater recharge because we're losing the snow pack quicker than we thought we would,” Bales said.
The new California water narrative has prompted scientists and policymakers to take a serious look at the potential for “flood-managed aquifer recharge” or Flood-MAR. Flood-MAR is a management strategy that uses water from rain or snowmelt to flood agricultural lands and working landscapes, such as refuges, floodplains and flood bypasses.
Successful implementation of Flood-MAR requires the identification of land for groundwater recharge, understanding the economic and agronomic impact of using agricultural land for recharge, and impacts of high-volume recharge on groundwater quality. But the potential is enormous.
“The state's underground basins are capable of storing 500 million acre-feet of water,” said Graham Fogg, UC Davis professor of hydrogeology. “That's like 500 Folsom reservoirs.”
Though the enormity of rewriting the California water story might seem an insurmountable challenge, panelist Debbie Franco noted that the passage of Sustainable Groundwater Management in 2014 happened when the state's unsustainable reliance of groundwater spiked during the 2011-2016 drought, reducing municipal water quality, drying domestic wells and causing land to sink.
“What seems impossible, after four years of drought, can be possible,” Franco said. “What will be the next thing? Get a sense of the solutions now.”
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Funded projects will begin March 1, 2019. Please note that the funding period may fluctuate and is based on budget appropriations.
University of California ladder rank faculty and UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors who have been in their current position less than seven years are eligible. Eligibility is also extended to faculty members at other higher education institutions in California who have been in their current position less than seven years.
The deadline for submission is Oct. 26, 2018.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Pledging to work together to solve water scarcity issues, Israel's Agricultural Research Organization signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis on July 16. The signing ceremony kicked off the 2018 Future of Water for Irrigation in California and Israel Workshop at the UC ANR building in Davis.
“Israel and California agriculture face similar challenges, including drought and climate change,” said Doug Parker, director of UC ANR's California Institute for Water Resources. “In the memorandum of understanding, Israel's Agricultural Research Organization, UC Davis and UC ANRpledge to work together more on research involving water, irrigation, technology and related topics that are important to both water-deficit countries.”
The agreement will enhance collaboration on research and extension for natural resources management in agriculture, with an emphasis on soil, irrigation and water resources, horticulture, food security and food safety.
“It's a huge pleasure for us to sign an MOU with the world leaders in agricultural research like UC Davis and UC ANR,” said Eli Feinerman, director of Agricultural Research Organization of Israel. “When good people, smart people collaborate the sky is the limit.”
Feinerman, Mark Bell, UC ANR vice provost, and Ermias Kebreab, UC Davis professor and associate vice provost of academic programs and global affairs, represented their respective institutions for the signing. Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture secretary, and Shlomi Kofman, Israel's consul general to the Pacific Northwest, joined in celebrating the partnership.
“The important thing is to keep working together and develop additional frameworks that can bring the people of California and Israel together as researchers,” Kofman said. “But also to work together to make the world a better place.”
Ross said, “It's so important for us to find ways and create forums to work together because water is the issue in this century and will continue to be.”
She noted that earlier this year the World Bank and United Nations reported that 40 percent of the world population is living with water scarcity. “Over 700,000 people are at risk of relocation due to water scarcity,” Ross said. “We're already seeing the refugee issues that are starting to happen because of drought, food insecurity and the lack of water.”
Ross touted the progress stemming from CDFA's Healthy Soils Program to promote healthy soils on California's farmlands and ranchlands and SWEEP, the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, which has provided California farmers $62.7 million in grants for irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on agricultural operations.
“We need the answers of best practices that come from academia, through demonstration projects so that our farmers know what will really work,” Ross said.
As Parker opened the water workshop, sponsored by the U.S./Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development (BARD) Program, Israel Agricultural Research Organization and UC ANR, he told the scientists, “The goal of this workshop is really to be creating new partnerships, meeting new people, networking and finding ways to work together in California with Israel, in Israel, with other parts of the world as well.”
Drawing on current events, Bell told the attendees, “If you look at the World Cup, it's about effort, it's about teamwork, it's about diversity of skills, and I think that's what this event does. It brings together those things.”
- Author: Liz Sizensky
VP Glenda Humiston moderated the closing plenary panel on March 23 at the California Water Policy Conference held at the UC Davis Conference Center. The panel discussed the Future of Agriculture in California.
“Assemblymember Anna Caballero, sixth-generation farmers Fritz Durst and Cannon Michael, and Jeff Payne of Friant Water Authority all offered promising ideas,” Humiston said. “Their projects, including Caballero's California Farm Bill, Durst's Sites Project, Michael's Bowles Farm and Payne's Friant Water Authority speak to sustainable solutions for agricultural economic development, which is tied to rural economic development. Also, it's great to see support for UCCE in Caballero's California Farm Bill.”