Water Education for California and the World
Despite a history marked by droughts and floods and constant water-related acrimony, California has managed to thrive, evolving a unique toolkit for managing its water resources and water use. As the world looks for solutions to its water challenges, California's turbulent water history provides guidance for possible paths forward. By 2050, 2.3 billion more people will live in areas with severe water stress. Already today, 1.8 billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water, and nearly 3 of 4 jobs worldwide depend upon access to water and water-related services. The world is thirsty for hard-won lessons that California has learned in managing its water. And California in turn must look to global water science and management practice in order to continue to its leadership in water innovation and economic growth.
The vision driving World Water-Education is to make UC Davis a global hub for graduate education in water science and management – indeed, to make UCD the water education leader among US universities. Different structures are now being discussed, but at its most ambition, we imagine a UC Davis School of Water Science and Management, filled with the brightest young students from Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and from the US. We imagine these students taking classes in a new landmark building. This facility is intended to be the new crossroads of the university, uniting water scientists, engineers, and other water practitioners across the university and across the state and the country.
The Water Nexus
Water is a thematic nexus, an intersection of many different fields of study, research, and applications. The UC Davis World Water Initiative was organized by faculty from a dozen or more different departments, colleges, and research units across campus, spanning hydrology, engineering, agriculture, law, economics, and many other fields. UC Davis prides itself on its interdisciplinary approach to education and research and the university has had some marked successes. But one of the visions of the World Water Initiative – and its educational arm in particular – is to make water science a central pillar of the university, a cross-cutting mission and a place to bring together faculty, researchers, and students across many disparate fields.
Why UC Davis?
UC Davis faculty and researchers in water-related science, engineering, and policy already form the single greatest concentration of academic water expertise in California. And California leads the nation and the world in developing scientific, engineering, and policy solutions in response to its own history of floods, droughts, groundwater overdraft, persistent growth, and threats to its own rich ecosystems.