About the Center


The Center for Integrated Water Research at UC Santa Cruz undertakes research to help provide society with safe and reliable supplies of fresh water.

Safe and reliable fresh water is critical to our health and quality of life, to providing ample food supplies, to maintaining a vibrant economy, and to supporting the environmental systems we depend on and enjoy. We provide fresh water through ingenious combinations of natural and engineered systems. These systems require vast amounts of financial, human, and natural resources to develop and maintain. Billions of dollars and millions of skilled employees are employed in the water sector. Our choices over fresh water management have profound impacts that can last decades or longer.

Stresses on fresh water supply in the early 21st century include growing demand from all categories of water users, aging infrastructure, declining water quality, and changing climate and groundcover that affect water availability and quality.

To meet these challenges, society has developed an array of new water treatment and supply technologies, as well as new approaches to managing when and how water is used. Many technologies are so innovative they don’t fit in well with our existing laws, regulations, and division of responsibilities for water. The roles of water agencies are in flux as water treatment agencies take on water supply roles.

Nevertheless, the water problems we face are real and societies around the globe intend to spend tens of billions of dollars to address them. How will we make good choices?

Our Center provides research expertise in water policy, economics, management, and communications.

We have a Fellows Program that includes nationally and internationally respected scholars with whom we closely collaborate. We develop and maintain relations with individuals in the business, finance, and regulatory sectors, often inviting them to lecture at UCSC.

Director of the Center

Brent M. Haddad, MA, MBA, Ph.D., has studied, published, and lectured on numerous aspects of rural and urban water policy, management, and communications. He is Professor of Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz.  He is a multiple-award-winning teacher and frequent guest on regional and national radio.


Safe and reliable fresh water is critical to human health, quality of life, and protection of the environment. The importance of protecting and improving water quality while using existing water supplies as efficiently as possible has never been greater. Societies around the globe are spending hundreds of billions of dollars to address these issues. Part of the challenge is technical/scientific, but much of the challenge involves policy, economics, and communications. Focusing on policy, economics, and communications, the Center for Integrated Water Research can help develop analytical methods and perspectives that will enable regions to achieve their water supply and treatment goals.


Our mission is to advance society's understanding of the policy, economics, and communication of fresh water management.