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UCSB Bren School Faculty Panel to Discuss Water and Effects of Drought in California

Today every topographical inch of California is experiencing drought. In some areas it is moderate (D1), in others it is severe (D2), but the majority of the state is categorized at extreme (D3). Even worse, a huge swath from San Francisco Bay to northern Ventura County — including Santa Barbara — and as far east as Inyo and Mono counties is classified as exceptional (D4) drought.

This marks the first time in the 15-year history of the United States Drought Monitor, a weekly map of drought conditions, that 100 percent of California is in moderate to exceptional drought.

Three faculty members from UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management will address drought-related issues in a panel discussion on Monday, May 5. Beginning at 11:30 a.m. in 1414 Bren Hall, the panel will focus on where we get water, how we use it and at what cost. The event is free and open to the public.

Factors of supply, demand and cost are critical both in coping with today’s water scarcity in California and in managing water resources effectively in the future.

“The choices we make with respect to water, both as individuals and as a society, have implications for the natural environment, for our economy and for our own health and livelihoods,” said Arturo Keller, professor of environmental biogeochemistry at the Bren School.

His research and teaching interests focus on water-quality management at the watershed level and the fate and transport of pollutants in the environment.

Keller will be joined by Gary Libecap, the Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Corporate Environmental Management in the Bren School and UCSB professor of economics. Liebcap’s current research includes water rights and water markets for water allocation and management.

The third member of the panel is Robert Wilkinson, adjunct associate professor at the Bren School. A specialist in water policy, he also serves on the public advisory committee for California’s State Water Plan and has represented the University of California on the Governor’s Task Force on Desalination.

Together, these experts on water science and technology, economics and policy will explore topics as they relate to drought across California and locally in the Santa Barbara area. More information about the panel is available by clicking here.

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