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UC Water

photo of the mountains in the sierra nevadas

A river flowing through Yosemite. A large branch is floating in the foreground, with a snowy riverbank in the background.

The UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative is the newest multicampus organization headquartered at UC Merced, and is focused on strategic research for better water resources management.

UC Water applies innovative science, technology and implementation strategies to the critical, complex issues of surface water and groundwater management.

Begun in 2015, UC Water is one aspect of the massive five-year, $50 million Clean Energy Research Center for Water Energy Technologies international research consortium, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology.

UC Water has more than 40 researchers approaching water from three perspectives: information, institutions and infrastructure.

The group’s initiatives include:

  • Developing innovative, quantitative water accounting and analysis methods, and introducing modern information systems into California’s aging infrastructure. Current water policy lacks salient, credible and legitimate water information, forcing policymakers to rely on century-old technology and analysis techniques.
  • Weaving legal and policy research into its findings. The research will help facilitate more integrated water management institutions in California and aid in the development of the capacity to adapt to 21st-century stressors.
  • Improving understanding of how water is extracted, conveyed and stored in built and natural infrastructure. This initiative also contributes to research by developing understanding of land-cover changes on source water areas, and tools and techniques for better groundwater management.