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New Center report details drought impact

The 2014 drought is responsible for the greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture — about one third less than normal — according to a new UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences study released today (July 15). See above video clip of lead author Richard Howitt speaking at a press briefing in Washington, D.C.

The economic analysis of the drought's impact on farming also found: 

Center scientist slams secrecy of state aquifer data

sample well completion report

The Center's Graham Fogg says scientists' understanding of California's vital groundwater resources is significantly limited by a 63-year-old California law that bars disclosure of well drillers' logs filed with the state.

Drought's impact, from Sierra to Pacific

Center researchers Sarah Yarnell and Andy Bell taking ultra-high resolution photos of Tuolumne Meadows panorama. Yosemite's Mount Dana in background, 2013

The Center's Theodore Grantham and Joshua Viers lead a Mercury News special on the drought with their new research findings on the state's water demands. The analysis shows California's water heavily oversubscribed, with five times more water committed than flows through all the state's rivers and streams combined.

Center study: Drought impacts loom large for Valley farms

California’s drought will deal a severe blow to Central Valley irrigated agriculture and farm communities this year, costing the industry $1.7 billion and causing more than 14,500 workers to lose their jobs, according to preliminary results of a new study by the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. Click here to read more.

UC drought summit: Target 'more pop per drop'

California needs to start making smart choices now about how to get the most out of every drop of rainfall, University of California experts said during a state Capitol summit on the impacts and implications of the current drought — one the most severe dry spells on record. “We need to do a much better job of getting more ecological pop per drop,” said Joshua Viers of UC Merced. The UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences organized the public conference in the state Capitol, attended by about 250.

Nigiri Project: 'Ray of hope' in fish-vs.-farms dispute

San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 2014

Our ongoing Nigiri Project, a collaborative salmon-rearing experiment on Yolo Bypass rice fields, made for a drought-related cover story in today's San Francisco Chronicle. 

The Center associate director Peter Moyle said growing salmon on an agriculturally reclaimed floodplain like the bypass floodway could actually work better than on natural floodplains during a drought. 

Center profiled in UC Davis Magazine

The Center's Carson Jeffres snorkeling Big Springs Creek near Mount Shasta

A UC Davis Magazine profile of the Center for Watershed Sciences spotlights its field and laboratory director, Carson Jeffres, shown snorkeling on Big Springs Creek near Mount Shasta. The six-page feature also highlights the research group's leadership in the current California drought. The Center is organizing students, faculty and staff from across UC campuses for and April 25 state Capitol summit, to discuss with other experts and policymakers how best to manage immediate and long-term water shortages. 

UC Davis scientists win grants for novel water projects

Mike Miller, UC Davis genetics researcher

Two UC Davis researchers have each been awarded a $60,000 grant to initiate California river projects. 

Jay Lund, director of the Center for Watershed Sciences, and Michael Miller, an assistant professor of genetics, are among 11 recipients announced Friday (March 7) by the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS).

Robo-copter elevates watershed mapping

The center's Cosumnes Research Group expects to save much time and effort surveying Sacramento area watersheds by air rather than on foot, using a hobbyist's low-flying rotocraft mounted with a camera and GPS unit. Joanna Nguyen, a UC Davis sophomore, produced the video — her first as a center videographer.

April 25: UC Drought Summit at State Capitol

Consumes River near Sacramento, Feb. 9, 2014

The Center for Watershed Sciences is organizing faculty from all UC campuses and other California universities to present a daylong Drought Science, Policy and Management Summit on April 25 at the State Capitol.

Registration opens April 1 at

The summit will bring together a wide range of experts in water sciences, water management and policymaking for thoughtful discussion on how best to manage current and long-term water shortages.

California drought lessons: what works, what doesn't

US Drought Monitor/california_map/Feb. 18, 2014

Past droughts show that the current water shortage is not only a challenge, but also "an opportunity for making California's water system better able to support its cities, farms and environment," says Ellen Hanak, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Hanak's comments appeared recently in the San Francisco Chronicle as an Op-Ed co-authored by Jay Lund, director of the Center for Watershed Sciences, and Jeffrey Mount, center co-founder and a PPIC senior fellow.

Engineering resilience to climate change

Joshua Viers, UC Merced

In the environment magazine Ensia, Center for Watershed Sciences affiliates Joshua Viers and Sarah Null discuss research aimed at helping California dam operators figure out how to dial in suitable temperatures and flows to sustain native fish in a warming climate.

Lund honored for 'lasting impacts' in water resources

Jay Lund, director, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences

The Universities Council of Water Resources has named Jay Lund winner of its 2014 Warren A. Hall Medal. The award recognizes research, teaching and public service that have made "significant and lasting impacts" upon the field of water resources. Lund is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis. Read more