- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Richard Rosenberg, former chairman and CEO of the Bank of America, died Friday, March 3. He was 92. When Rosenberg retired from BofA in 1996, the bank honored him by endowing the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy at UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources:
“Dick Rosenberg is well-known for his generous gifts to the University of California and to the Bay Area. With his Bank of America endowment gift to UC Agriculture and Natural Resources to create the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, he has had the most far-reaching and profound impact. Over the years, Dick developed an understanding of the complex and contentious water issues in California and across the globe. His intent in bringing together scientists and policymakers from around the world to discuss water management was to reduce conflicts surrounding this critical resource. While we continue to face challenges of water scarcity and water quality, we are able to solve some issues by sharing our knowledge and experiences. For years to come, the global community will benefit from Dick Rosenberg's foresight to fund the International Forum on Water Policy.”
Soroosh Sorooshian, UC Irvine Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing and chair of the UC ANR Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy:
“Mr. Richard Rosenberg was passionate about the well-being of the environment in addition to his responsibilities managing one of the largest financial institutions in the world. His concern about water resources scarcity and international water conflicts led to the establishment of the UC ANR Rosenberg International Forum for Water Policy with an endowment gift from the Bank of America to honor Dick's vision. It is a great honor for the forum to carry the vision of Mr. Rosenberg as a lasting legacy to his commitment to issues related to international water policy.”
Henry Vaux, Jr., UC Riverside Professor Emeritus, UC ANR Associate Vice President Emeritus, and Founding Chair of Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy
Richard Rosenberg made many contributions to the well-being of all Californians. Among those was the rallying of the business community to the cause of managing an earlier severe drought that began in the late 1980s. This expression of his long term-interests in the management of water resources led the Board of the Bank of American to establish the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy at the University of California in his honor. Over the years, that Forum has met at 10 locations around the world, often with Rosenberg himself in attendance. The work of the Forum has influenced water policy in countries ranging from Australia to Jordan. As a founding chair of the Forum, I can attest to the crucial role that he played in guiding the establishment of the institution and ensuring its success over two and a half decades. I will miss his wise counsel, sharp insights on almost everything and his great sense of humor. I send my condolences and best wishes to his wife, Barbara, and his family.
About the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy
The Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy originated in 1996 with an endowment gift from the Bank of America to the University of California. The purpose of the gift was to support a water policy forum in honor of then-retiring Bank Chair and Chief Executive Officer Richard Rosenberg. Rosenberg had a long-term interest in water resources and was credited with rallying the California business community to address the causes and impacts of the drought of 1987-1992.
The Rosenberg Forum is held every other year in different locations around the world. Participation is limited to 50 water scholars and senior water managers. Interactive discussions about the science of water management and different experiences in water management around the globe are at the heart of the forum.
The first forum was held in San Francisco in 1997, followed by gatherings in Barcelona, Spain; Canberra, Australia; Ankara, Turkey; Banff, Canada; Zaragoza, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Aqaba, Jordan; and Panama City, Panama. The last forum was held in San Jose, California, in 2018 and has been on hiatus due to the pandemic.
The overarching theme of the Rosenberg Forum is "reducing conflict in the management of water resources." Specific sub-themes are chosen by an advisory committee for each individual forum. The primary objective is to facilitate the exchange of information and experience in the management of water resources.
The problems of managing water are surprisingly common around the world. However, approaches and solutions may differ depending on the available financial resources as well as social and cultural norms. Discussions of alternative approaches and identification of what works and what doesn't are intended to aid in devising more effective and efficient water-management schemes.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Porse has built an outstanding career in water as a research engineer with the Office of Water Programs at California State University, Sacramento and an assistant adjunct professor with UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. His research focuses on urban and water resources management. He specializes in bringing together interdisciplinary teams to investigate complex environmental management questions.
Porse earned a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering (water resources) from UC Davis and a master's degree in public policy (science and technology) from George Mason University. His professional experience includes international work and teaching in Mexico, Europe, Japan and East Africa. He has authored over 50 reports and peer-reviewed articles.
“UC ANR is fortunate to have a director with broad professional experience in science and policy at the United Nations, the U.S. government, private sector firms and research laboratories,” said Deanne Meyer, UC ANR interim associate vice president for programs and strategic initiatives. “Erik's recent research has collaborated with scientists and projects addressing priority areas in the California Water Resilience Portfolio, including safe drinking water, efficient urban water use, sustainable groundwater management, water reuse, beneficial uses of stormwater, and environmental finance.”
The CIWR is the California hub of the national network of water research institutes supported by the federal Water Resources Research Act of 1964 and provides and communicates solutions to complex water issues and will serve a critical role to support applied water research that tackles large problems with systems approaches, including groundwater recharge, water rights, irrigation management, water finance, and drinking water access. The CIWR works with scientists throughout California as well as through the national network to bring defensible solutions and alternatives to California's water management community.
“Water is a necessity for life and management of water is essential for California's economy and prosperity,” Meyer said. “Porse's leadership with multidisciplinary research teams, water policy research, and integrated systems modeling will serve the CIWR and ANR for years to come.”
Porse succeeds Doug Parker, who retired in 2022 after 11 years as CIWR director.
- Author: Kat Kerlin
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The alliance aims to make plain water the easy, appealing substitute for sugary beverages – soda, energy drinks, fruit drinks, and sweetened coffee and tea drinks. The alliance is also actively working on the safety of tap water in the nation's schools and childcare settings.
“To make water the beverage of choice will require a movement,” said Christina Hecht, a member of the NPI team. “NPI will build bridges, spearhead the creation of shared resources, align messages, strategies and aims, and coordinate strong external communications.”
NPI was formed by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2014 to conduct, evaluate and share research related to the impact of nutrition and physical activity on public health. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded NPI a $960,000 grant to coordinate the National Drinking Water Alliance for three years.
“Even when water is available, too many children and adults choose sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Hecht, who will serve as the National Drinking Water Alliance coordinator. “In our American diet, sugary drinks are the top source of added sugars for both adults and children, and, remarkably, they are the single largest source of calories for teens aged 14 to 18.”
But Hecht is quick to point out that if people are to make the switch to water, water needs to be easily accessible and they need to know that it is safe to drink.
High consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is associated with obesity and other chronic health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. UCLA scientists reported in March that the diabetes epidemic in California is “out of control.” The study says 55 percent of the state's population has prediabetes or diabetes – many of them are undiagnosed.
“Simply switching to water is a relatively easy lifestyle change that can have a big impact on the intake of added sugar and excess calories, reducing diabetes risk,” Hecht said. “It can also improve oral health.”
The National Drinking Water Alliance includes government agencies, education officials, researchers, water industries, and non-governmental organizations like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, American Academy of Pediatrics Campaign for Dental Health, and the American Heart Association. They believe by sharing knowledge, resources and connections, they will hasten progress toward their common goal.
Fortunately, the current state of safe drinking water in the U.S. is mostly favorable. About 90 percent of Americans get their water from public utilities and 95 percent of those supply safe water. In some areas, however, water can become contaminated on the path between utility and tap, typically with lead. Sometimes other contaminants can leach in through breaks in pipes.
“We all recognize that, if we are going to tell people to drink water, they need to have confidence that the tap water is safe,” Hecht said. “At the moment, we don't know the magnitude of the problem of unsafe drinking water. The alliance is highly focused on policy as the most effective tool to bring about broad change.”
The National Drinking Water Alliance plans a Congressional hearing on national drinking water and is developing best practices for effective access to safe drinking water in schools and childcare settings.
The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) has appointed Soroosh Sorooshian as chair of the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy. Sorooshian is distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences at UC Irvine.
The forum, a program of UC ANR's California Institute for Water Resources, was launched in 1996 with an endowment gift from the Bank of America honoring then-retiring bank chairman and CEO Richard Rosenberg. Experts from all over the world convene at the Rosenberg Forum to identify ways in which conflict in the management of water resources can be reduced and to promote science-based policies to govern the management of water resources.
“I'm delighted that the University of California, through the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, is carrying out the vision of Richard Rosenberg in reducing conflict in water resources management through dialogue and information sharing between scientists and policymakers,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “We are pleased that Dr. Soroosh Sorooshian, with his wide range of expertise and prominence in the international community, will be leading this important work as the incoming chair of the Rosenberg Forum.”
The forum meets biennially at different locations around the world. Previous forums have been held in San Francisco (1997), Spain (1999 and 2008), Australia (2002), Turkey (2004), Canada (2006), Argentina (2010), and Jordan (2013). The most recent forum was in January 2016 in Panama City, Panama.
“Over the past 30 years, the Rosenburg Forum has raised UC's stature in international water conflict resolutions,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “The forum will continue to develop new approaches and solutions to addressing water problems around the world under the leadership of Dr. Sorooshian, an accomplished and brilliant scientist.”
Attendance at the forum is by invitation and limited to 50 water scholars and senior water managers. Participants devote their time at each forum to discussions of previously commissioned papers, which are published following the meeting. The conclusions and findings of each forum are also published.
“The need for approaches and solutions to securing clean, reliable water sources crosses all political, ethnic and territorial boundaries,” said UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman. “But how we get to those solutions varies greatly, depending on culture, financial resources and social norms. I'm confident that Soroosh Sorooshian will be able to find ways to transcend the differences and find workable solutions for all. I'm proud that UCI can contribute to making great progress on such global issues.”
Sorooshian is also director of the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine. His fields of interest include hydrometeorology, water resources systems, climate studies and application of remote sensing to water resources issues in arid and semi-arid zones. Sorooshian is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and has garnered many international and national awards for his work. His appointment was effective April 1, 2016.
“I am honored to be appointed chair of the Rosenberg Forum and serve after my dear colleague Henry Vaux Jr., professor emeritus of resource economics at the University of California Riverside, who has filled this role since the forum was established,” Sorooshian said. “I've also had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Rosenberg. He is a remarkable and humble man whose wisdom and knowledge of international issues are unmatched. I thank him for sharing his vision of the role the Rosenberg Forum can play in addressing international water issues, and I look forward to this new opportunity.”