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Floods, Droughts and Lawsuits: Managing California's Water by Crisis

April 07, 2014 - 3:30 pm

Join UC Davis Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Mount for the inaugural Sierra Nevada Research Institute lecture entitled "Floods, Droughts and Lawsuits: Managing California's Water by Crisis."

The lecture is free and open to everyone, and begins at 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 7, in the California Room. A panel discussion and a reception follow.

In the 160 years since the Gold Rush, important milestones in California water management can be linked to floods, droughts and lawsuits. Crises bring focus and create the willingness, to paraphrase Gov. Jerry Brown, to “get stuff done.”

The 2012-2014 drought is, by all measures, one of those crises. The drought itself is remarkable, but its value, if there is any, is that it has revealed many of the weaknesses and strengths in how we manage water for supply and ecosystem health. This talk examines some of the more common issues that have surfaced during the drought and explores some of the less-discussed prescriptions for reform. This talk will also remind us that once it starts to rain again, the disaster memory half-life is short and institutional inertia is high, making it difficult to adjust course.

Mount is a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. He is an emeritus professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Davis, where he taught for 33 years. While at UC Davis, he held the Roy Shlemon chair in Applied Geosciences and the Presidential chair in Undergraduate Education. He served as chair of the Department of Geology, and is the founding director of the Center for Watershed Sciences.

Mount has served on numerous state and federal task forces and committees, has served as the chair of the CALFED Independent Science Board, and is a former member of the California State Reclamation Board. He is the author of "California Rivers and Streams: The Conflict Between Fluvial Process and Land Use." His research interests involve fluvial geomorphology, river management and water-resource policy.

For more details, contact SNRI at snrirequests@ucmerced.edu.

Contact Information

5200 N. Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
United States