DIRECTOR'S WELCOME LETTER
The Center for Integrated Water Research at the University of California, Santa Cruz contributes to regional, state, and global dialogs on water engineering, policy, economics, and communications. We encourage student involvement in all of our projects, with the double goal of producing cutting edge research on issues of critical importance related to fresh water and training the next generation of water scholars and leaders.
Water and Sustainability Conference, Girona, Spain
We have been very busy in 2011-12. The school year started with a conference on the future of Water Reuse, held in Girona, Spain, at the headquarters of the regional water utility Consorci Costa Brava. Girona is a short drive (or even better, train ride!) north of Barcelona. Consorci Costa Brava is known globally for its efforts to integrate water reuse into the region’s water supply system. This meeting, organized by our Center with the leadership of our Distinguished Fellow Dr. Bahman Sheikh, introduced perspectives on urban water planning and water reuse from California, Spain, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Among the highlights of the meeting were the presentation of Professor Waleed Zahid, Chair of Civil Engineering and holder of the Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Chair for Water Resources at King Saud University. He outlined the efforts taken in Riyadh to secure its urban water supply by introducing water reuse.
Another highlight was the presentation of Ms. Amber Kuss, NASA employee and UCSC Doctoral Student, working on the GRACE Satellite System. The GRACE system is able to measure groundwater availability and change over wide ranges of the earth’s surface. We are excited that Amber will be joining UC Santa Cruz as a doctoral student in Fall 2012. She will retain her position at NASA while advancing her knowledge of water policy, economics, and engineering.
WaterLab – a partnership of the Center for Integrated Water Research and the Watsonville Water Resources Center
We made exciting strides with WaterLab. WaterLab is our acronym for the Water Teaching and Research Laboratory. Located at Watsonville’s Water Resources Center, it is a location for research and teaching on advanced water treatment. WaterLab takes secondary and tertiary-treated water from Watsonville’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, treats it to very high quality (including potable), and then returns effluent and treated water to the headworks of the Treatment Plant. As of Spring, 2012, we have our laboratory building and are installing our treatment train that so far includes slow sand filtration and reverse osmosis. Students have been involved in every aspect of design and construction, assisted by nationally-recognized desalination engineer Elias (Eli) Weintraub. We will be undertaking research on system optimization (both water treatment and energy consumption), integration of renewable power, and the role of reclaimed water in regional water supply systems. Here is a powerpoint with highlights of the history of WaterLab. Without the tireless dedication of Kevin Silviera, Manager of the Watsonville Water Resources Center, and Tiffany Wise-West, Civil Engineer and UCSC Doctoral Candidate, we would not be standing on the verge of major achievements in water teaching and research.
Costs and Benefits of Desalination
We have completed our study of costs and benefits of desalination. This project was funded by the people of California through Proposition 50 funds. We were delayed by state budget woes among other issues, but now can report out to you that we find desalination to be a promising technology to help meet California’s current and future water supply needs. However, to obtain the maximum benefit from desalination, a number of reforms are needed to governance and permitting. These are discussed in our project's Final Report.
Here are four products of this effort. The City of Long Beach, a research collaborator, worked with us to generate an easy-to-navigate library of several million dollars worth of research findings on desalination. Our Final Report describes the research process and offers some recommendations on how California can realize benefits from desalination technology while minimizing adverse impacts. There is also a research needs report focusing on ecological economics and desalination. And the major work product, our Desalination Planning Issues Matrix, is now accessible. Known as the PIM, this cost-benefit tool is intended to help individuals, civic groups, and agencies research and understand the potential costs and benefits of pursuing desalination. Recognition is due to Robert Raucher, PhD, and his staff at Stratus Consulting for their tireless dedication to completing the PIM. There are too many people to thank for their efforts on this project. As ever with CIWR projects, we included students in research and implementation, both undergraduate and doctoral, achieving the added benefit of training the next generation of water leaders.
Our Center remains dedicated to collaborative research that addresses crucial fresh-water problems. We focus on water policy, economics, and communications. We are concerned with water relations between cities and their surrounding regions, including how water and water infrastructure is owned, managed, treated, paid for, and transferred between users, and processes by which these decisions are made.
On a final note, as of July 1, 2012, I am adding the role of UCSC Associate Dean of Engineering for Technology Management. WaterLab and the Center will continue to thrive as we increase our relationships with Engineering Faculty and Researchers at UCSC.
With very best wishes,
Brent M. Haddad