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Water Security in a Changing Climate: California Drought and Sierra Nevada Response

April 14, 2016 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Lake Oroville, CA

About the Event

This “Earth Month” talk was co-hosted by the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area and Sustainable Berkeley Lab (SBL), one of many Earth Month activities throughout the month of April 2016 in celebration of Earth Day. The Earth Month talk, held on April 14, featured Roger Bales from UC Merced. Scroll down to find out more about event logistics and information.

Livestream and Recording

This event was livestreamed and recorded by Sustainable Berkeley Lab and is now available on the EESA YouTUBE channel. Click here to watch the full presentation.

About the Speaker

Dr. Roger Bales

Dr. Roger Bales

“Water Security in a Changing Climate: California Drought and Sierra Nevada Response” is presented by Dr. Roger C. Bales of UC Merced. He is a Distinguished Professor of Engineering and a founding faculty member at UC Merced, and has been active in water- and climate-related research for for over 30 years. Read more >>


California’s water supplies are facing unprecedented stresses, and the state’s water-management systems are struggling to meet both environmental and human needs (agricultural, municipal, industrial). Supplies are highly vulnerable to climate variability and extreme events, limiting options to respond to the combined stresses of a changing climate, population, and land cover. Strategic, coordinated investments in California’s water infrastructure, institutions, and information will provide the foundation for a secure, equitable, and efficient water future. Priority infrastructure improvements are needed for central elements of the state’s “green” infrastructure, including restoration of Sierra Nevada and other forests in stressed source-water areas, and additional groundwater recharge below the mountain front. Multi-year measurements of evapotranspiration, soil moisture and other water-balance components in the southern Sierra Nevada show the extent to which subsurface water storage in the regolith provides a buffer against multi-year dry periods. Scaling these measurements across the Sierra Nevada helps explain the high levels of tree mortality in fall 2015, and provides a predictive ability for the impact of restoration on source-water areas in future multi-year droughts. The cornerstone of water security, and priority need for California, is a modern, robust water-information system that enables accurate, timely, and transparent accounting through the water-supply and use cycle. This system must extend from mountain headwaters through valley groundwater. With better-informed management, California’s existing water supplies could go further to meeting the state’s urban, agricultural, ecological, and industrial needs.

Download the event flyer!


Building 50 Auditorium
1 Cyclotron Road
Berkeley, CA 94720 United States
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