EVENT: What’s really causing California’s epic drought? Is it linked to climate change or not? How are urban water managers responding to mandatory rationing, and are the restrictions enough? Do we have adequate prediction and monitoring tools, and how can they be improved? How is the drought affecting wildlife and ecosystems? Top researchers, water managers and policymakers will explore the latest findings and fast-moving policy at a three-day conference at the National Academies on the grounds of UC Irvine.

WHEN/WHERE: Monday-Wednesday, April 20-22, Arnold & Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences & Engineering (bldg. 80, grid C4 on campus map)

INFORMATION: Media planning to attend should contact Janet Wilson at 949-824-3969 or janethw@uci.edu or Peter Weiss at 202-777-7507 or pweiss@agu.org.

BACKGROUND: California is in its fourth year of drought, affecting the holders of more than 36,000 water rights that serve 30 million people and irrigate over 5,680,000 acres of farmland. Following the lowest snowpack ever recorded and with no end in sight, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. on April 1 ordered cities and towns across California to cut water use by 25 percent – a first in state history. At this conference, national researchers and state water managers will explore drought monitoring and prediction, seek to better understand the drought’s impacts on the water supply and ecosystems, discuss possible links to climate change, and identify policy and management solutions to enhance California’s resilience. The conference aims to highlight key research gaps and produce a road map for future work.

Speakers include Jeanine Jones and Michael Anderson of the California Department of Water Resources; David Feldman and Amir AghaKouchak of UC Irvine; Martin Hoerling, Roger Pulwarty and Andrew Wood of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration; Jay Famiglietti of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and UC Irvine; Claudia Faunt of the U.S. Geological Survey; Roger Bales of UC Merced; Daniel Swain of Stanford University; Bill Hasencamp of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; and A.G. Kawamura, grower and former California secretary of agriculture. For the full program, see here.

This conference is hosted by the American Geophysical Union, the Water UCI program and the UCI Center for Hydrometeorology & Remote Sensing.