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California State University Water Experts Hold Inaugural Meeting to Address State’s Water Challenges

Group to focus on education, research and policy development to help state achieve long-term solutions

 

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(June 16, 2009) - In an effort to respond to California’s growing water crisis, the California State University’s Water Resources and Policy Initiative (WRPI), a consortium of CSU faculty and researchers involved in water issues, held its inaugural meeting on June 10 at the CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach to discuss how to help achieve a long-term sustainable water supply for California.  The group will provide independent and well-informed applied research and policy analyses on water-related issues and policies for various agencies and stakeholder groups within California. 

Developing Water Related Solutions, Education, Technology and Career Paths

Dr. David Zoldoske of California State University, Fresno, serves as the director of the WRPI, and also directs three water research programs at CSU Fresno.  “The mission of the group is to bring faculty in the CSU together to address issues related to water in California,” said Zoldoske. 

Dr. David Zoldoske of California State University Fresno and director of the WRPI, gave an overview of the day's conference to more than 80 CSU faculty members and researchers.
Dr. David Zoldoske of California State
University Fresno and director of the
WRPI, gave an overview of the day's
conference to more than 80 CSU faculty
members and researchers.

The WRPI will be involved in promoting the need for education, training and professional capacity development with the water industry, government agencies and communities, as well as support the development of new and advanced water technologies to help drive economic development and job creation.  In addition, the group will work to raise awareness on possible careers in water and develop academic pathways for the next generation of professionals to meet the needs of various industries.

As part of his address to the group, Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, a statewide association with 450 local public water agency members, highlighted the history of water policies in the state and what future changes might be.  At the advent of the state’s water policy in the 1950s, the focus was solely on economic impact, but has evolved to currently favor primarily environmental concerns – such as endangered species issues associated with the Delta.  Quinn says that the current economic crisis in the state has revealed the job losses related to the lack of an adequate water supply, and policymakers are in the process of developing a plan to make both environmental and economic concerns equal considerations in planning.

WRPI Background

At a meeting in 2007 of CSU’s Agricultural Advisory Board, an industry group that works with the CSU on preparing students for the workforce, members indicated to CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed they wanted to see CSU’s extensive applied research and education strengths applied in the area of water resource and policy.  More than 200 CSU faculty members with research and teaching assignments related to water and policy issues were identified to be part of such an effort.  The establishment of the WRPI by Chancellor Reed in 2008 is an effort to coordinate the many resources of the CSU to help address California’s water challenges, as the state has placed a priority on addressing the multitude of water challenges. 
WRPI plans to hold its next water conference at Sacramento State and to invite legislators and agency personnel to meet with CSU faculty and researchers.  More information on the WPRI can be found here.

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