Thank you for taking the time to read our Water UCI e-newsletter! I am excited about the new outreach and growth opportunities we have experienced over the past year. From the Salton Sea to the Dead Sea, our work addresses local and global water issues. Water UCI has had an eventful and productive 2018 and 2019 looks to be just as exciting. Here are some highlights:
- In February 2018, we hosted a workshop with Professors Hadas Mamane and Dror Avisar from the College of Engineering at Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel, and Professor Ram Fishman of the School of Social and Policy Studies at TAU on “Grand Challenges Facing the Future of Freshwater,” and identified two areas of joint-research: agricultural-caused water pollution and depletion of inland seas (e.g., Salton Sea and Dead Sea). We are developing a faculty-student exchange centered on these two water bodies. Our objectives are to develop cross-disciplinary understanding of various approaches to water management.
- In April – May 2018, I was a visiting scholar in the Boris Mints Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions to Global Challenges at Tel-Aviv University. I gave lectures on water governance and conflict and engaged with students and faculty on issues common to the Southwest U.S. and the Middle East. The opportunity has created closer links between our institutions and student exchanges to learn the dynamics of the water-food-and energy nexus.
- As a follow-up to Water UCI’s participation in development of an Urban Water Atlas for Europe with collaborators from NetwercH2O – a European Union initiative, we co-produced an article describing the goals and objectives of the We discuss how to better make scientific knowledge available to the public in useable and useful forms, and the need to embrace perspectives from the arts, science, and politics to solve water problems. Check out this article and others on our website.
- Water UCI launched a new education initiative during summer 2018: an NSF-funded program titled Research Opportunities for Community College Teachers. A class of eight Orange County community college teachers learned about problems associated with contemporary water management – including climate change, needs for conservation, and new water supply alternatives. If you are a community college, high school or middle school teacher interested in doing a research project at UCI this summer, consider applying to our program. Applications are available at: http://rocct.water.uci.edu/
- We expanded Water UCI’s Middle School Challenge, a partnership with science teachers in Irvine, Corona del Mar and Newport Beach to: provide training opportunities for UCI student teachers; give middle school students the opportunity to create innovative “water conservation projects” which they present at UCI each spring; and, recognize middle school students for their innovations. To learn more, view this video. If you would like to help us expand to new schools in Orange County, please contact me.
- During 2017-18, we also participated in a project funded by the California Water Resources Control Board to examine ways to enhance the capture and use of urban runoff. In conjunction with researchers from Sacramento State University, the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, and others we recommended changes in regulatory, urban planning and public outreach programs to expand stormwater capture and use. We also completed a grant-funded project from the California Energy Commission titled, “Building a Climate Change Resilient Electricity System for Meeting California’s Energy and Environmental Goals.”
- In 2018 a generous donor helped us fund our signature colloquia series. These events, open to the public, feature water experts that illuminate important issues, including Kathleen Miller, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. She gave a talk on “Balancing on a Roller Coaster: Water Policy and planning in a Changing Climate.” Noting how changes in the hydrosphere will play a large role in driving the impacts of climate change on human communities and natural systems, she urged that steps be taken to account for shifting risks and opportunities when developing policies for managing water, land use and infrastructure. To see slides from Dr. Miller’s lecture, visit the “Past events” section of our website.
For 2019 and beyond, we plan to expand our outreach, scholarship and collaborations. We would like to provide additional opportunities for UCI students to engage in our Middle School Challenge and work with teachers on water curriculum enhancements. We will also be working to expand opportunities for student internships and water-related projects. If you have ideas on how to help us grow and expand, please feel free to reach out to me. Lastly, we are also going to expand our collaborations with other universities on problems related to urban water resilience. I look forward to sharing our progress in future newsletters.
Water UCI Director