About the Project

Our project was called "Developing a Tool to Guide State and Local Desalination Planning." Our goal was to help California water agencies and the people they serve make good decisions about the role of desalination in their water supply. In 2005, the CIWR launched the first major policy and economic analysis of desalination planning for California water agencies. Funded by California taxpayers through Proposition 50, the Center assembled a blue-ribbon team of desalination experts from universities, government agencies, advocacy organizations, and the private sector. The project concluded in 2012.

The research team includes: 

1. Brent M. Haddad, M.B.A., Ph.D., Principal Investigator*
2. Steven Kasower, UC Santa Cruz
3. Catherine Borrowman, UC Santa Cruz 
4. Holly Alpert, UC Santa Cruz 
5. Robert Wilkinson, Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara
6. Robert S. Raucher, Ph.D., Stratus Consulting*
7. KC Hallett, MS, Stratus Consulting 
8. Michael Hanemann, Ph.D., UC Berkeley
9. Elizabeth Strange, Ph.D., Stratus Consulting
10. Edward G. Means III, Malcolm Pirnie*
11. Brent A. Alspach, PE, Malcolm Pirnie 
*cost sharing partners

Brent M. Haddad, M.B.A., Ph.D., the Principal Investigator, is Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Director of the Center for Integrated Water Research.  Professor Haddad performs research on urban water management and policy and has published on water conservation, water reclamation, and water transfers.  He has given talks in both Los Angeles and San Francisco on the topic of Environmental Justice and urban water management, and has lectured on water management in China, India, Croatia, and many other nations.  He co-founded the STEPS Institute for Innovation in Environmental Research and served as Associate Director (2002-4). He has served as P.I. on numerous grants in both the public and private sector, and he served on UCSC’s Committee on Planning and Budget.  In addition to oversight, Dr. Haddad will participate in all substantive aspects of the project.

Steven Kasower, Senior Research Economist, UC Santa Cruz, focuses his research on alternative water project implementation issues from the political, institutional, and economic perspectives.  Prior to his faculty appointment, Mr. Kasower was an economist in the Water Treatment Engineering and Research Group at the United States Bureau of Reclamation where he served as Reclamation’s Desalination Planning Manager.  In this capacity, Mr. Kasower was responsible for planning and identifying the appropriate role for advanced treatment technologies in creating new water supplies in the West. 

Catherine Borrowman, MPA, MAIS, Academic Coordinator, Research Specialist, UC Santa Cruz, brings several years of research and administrative experience to her position. She has served as Administrator for UCSC's Urban and Regional Water Research Initiative since 2005, and perfomed independent research on natural resource management strategies for developing nations. Her areas of research expertise include community participation in regional resource management and desalination planning and management.

Holly Alpert, D. Cand., UC Santa Cruz, provides research assistance in desalination planning and economics. Ms. Alpert has helped develop a coding systems for a large-scale database of desalination and water reuse articles that is available world-wide via this web site. She served on the Steering Committee for the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments Desalination review. Ms. Alpert also performs research on plant responses to changing rainfall patterns associated with global warming and climate change. 

Robert Wilkinson, Ph.D., Director of the Water Policy Program, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at U.C. Santa Barbara, has a teaching and research focus on water policy, climate change, the energy-water interface, and environmental policy issues. Dr. Wilkinson advises various government agencies, serves on the public advisory committee for California’s State Water Plan, and represented the U.C. system on the Governor’s Task Force on Desalination. He has advised the California Energy Commission and the U.S. EPA and served as coordinator for the climate impacts assessment of the California Region for the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

Robert S. Raucher, Ph.D., senior environmental economist at Stratus Consulting, has 25+ years experience integrating ecologic and health risk with economic valuation and integrated water resources management, with a focus on public water supply planning, regulation, and management. He has led or played a major role in several recent benefit-cost analysis and  risk management projects sponsored by U.S. EPA, AwwaRF, WERF, the Water Reuse Foundation, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and AWWA. He is widely published on the benefits and costs of regulations and activities that alter the quantity or quality of surface and groundwaters, and has served the National Drinking Water Advisory Council as a member of its workgroups on benefits, arsenic cost, and affordability.  Dr. Raucher is particpating in all aspects of the project.

KC Hallett, MS, is an associate at Stratus Consulting. She has research experience in non-traditional water management and planning projects; in particular, she provided support for a document on the Institutional Barriers to Desalination. With experience creating user-friendly spreadsheets, calculators and look-up tables in Excel, Ms. Hallett will play a critical role in the development and refinement of the Planning Issues Matrix (an interactive guide to key issues associated with desalination).

Michael Hanemann, Ph.D., is the Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Hanemann’s research interests include non-market valuation, environmental economics and policy, water pricing and management, demand modeling for market research and policy design, the economics of irreversibility and adaptive management, and welfare economics.  His work has appeared in AEREconometricaJEEM, AJAE, and elsewhere.  He serves on the USEPA Environmental Economics Advisory Committee, the California Bay-Delta Authority Public Advisory Committee, Committee on Drinking Water, and many other boards and committees.  Dr. Hanemann plays two roles in this project, oversight and review, and development of the concept of the option value of desalination as part of an overall water supply portfolio.

Elizabeth Strange, Ph.D., is a Managing Scientist at Stratus Consulting.  Her doctoral work was in ecology with expertise in marine and freshwater ecology, human impacts on water resources and aquatic ecosystems, regulatory analysis, aquatic ecosystem services, and ecological risk assessment.  Dr. Strange regularly works with economists in developing frameworks for assessing the costs and benefits of projects with substantial environmental impacts.  Dr. Strange participates in developing analyses of the environmental impacts of alternative water supply options.

Edward G. Means, Vice President, Scientist Officer at Malcolm Pirnie, previously served as Deputy General Manager at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, where he had responsibility for business aspects including capital programs, operating budgets, water resources planning, physical facility operations, and laboratory and treatment process facilities. He is an expert in water utility operations and management, providing water agencies with expertise in developing and implementing long-range water resource, quality and management strategies/plans, and regulatory compliance. He is project manager for the Awwa Research Foundation’s (AwwaRF’s) “Strategic Assessment of the Future of Water Utilities.” 

Brent Alspach, PE, is a Senior Project Engineer with Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., specializing in potable water supply, quality, and treatment. As a leader of the company’s membrane treatment practice, Mr. Alspach is a recognized authority in both membrane filtration (MF/UF) and desalination (NF/RO). He is a primary author of the USEPA Membrane Filtration Guidance Manual and is widely consulted by state primacy agencies on membrane regulatory issues. Mr. Alspach has also authored or co-authored over 40 published reports and articles, has been an invited speaker at several national conferences focusing on desalination. Mr. Alspach’s role on this project will focus primarily on the engineering and implementation of desalination technology.

Participating Agencies and Firms

The research partners are drawing on expert external collaborators from all over California in a wide variety of fields (economics, finance, environmental justice, ecology, urban planning, water resources management and planning).  During the case study phase, the local expertise of personnel at the City of Long Beach Water Department, the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, and other water agencies will be a key component in the quality of the results.  

These agencies, firms, and non-profits have offered their support:

University of California, Santa Cruz
Long Beach Water Department
Inland Empire Utilities Agency 
Coachella Valley Water District 
Stratus Consulting, Inc. 
Malcolm Pirnie, Inc.; formerly McGuire Consulting, Inc.
California American Water Company 
San Diego County Water Authority 
California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region 
Surfrider Foundation 
California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund 
Residents of Pico Rivera for Environmental Justice 
WateReuse Foundation 
Poseidon Resources Corporation

Project Management

The project is managed by the Center for Integrated Water Research at UC Santa Cruz. CIWR reports to the California Department of Water Resources, which administers all Proposition 50 Projects , which is providing research and development funding to California water agencies and universities. The Water Recycling and Desalination Branch of the Office of Water Use Efficiency oversees this project. The total budget is $2,597,149, the State share is $909,051.