Michael Kiparsky, Associate Director

Closed (1) Innovation, science, and policy in water resources

Applications for Spring 2019 are now closed for this project.

Innovation is sorely needed in water resources – water is managed under technological and legal systems that have developed too slowly to respond to changes such as increasing population, land use change, and developments in ecological understanding. Water resources are governed by a multitude of factors, including legal, regulatory, economic, hydrologic, social, and others, each of which needs to be taken into account in crafting solutions. Understanding how to incorporate scientific advances (the possible) into a management regime that is resistant to change (the existing constraints) requires work at the interface between science and decision-making. Successful applicants will be matched to specific projects based on their skills and interests.

Examples of topics could include:
1) examination of the institutional opportunities and barriers to groundwater recharge
2) analyzing survey data about the relationship between innovation and regulation in the wastewater sector
3) increasing access to drinking water in disadvantaged communities in California
4) adaptation to climate change in the water sector
5) improving water data and information for decision-making

The URA will contribute to interdisciplinary research on one or more topics of current and future interest at the intersection of science and water policy in California. This will involve research and synthesis of published information from academic, legal, and media sources on emerging topics in California water management. Apprentices could engage in research on legal, regulatory, scientific, and technical subjects, depending on the project undertaken. A key theme will involve identifying ways in which legal and regulatory changes could help enable innovation. Specific topics could include water recycling, greywater reuse, ecologically functional flood control, dam removal, water markets, adaptation to climate change, and other topics. For an exceptional and motivated candidate, possibility exists for collaboration in workshops and published reports targeting water decision makers.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Nell Green Nylen, Kathleen Miller, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: Strong writing skills, ability to conduct independent literature research and synthesis, comfort incorporating across disciplines and working with shifting priorities. For some projects, technical and engineering background, or economics and finance, would be particularly valuable. Skills including statistics, modeling, programming (esp. R), econometrics, excel and similar quantitative tools could find good use.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Closed (2) Impacts and adaptation to climate change in California water resources

Closed. This professor is continuing with Fall 2018 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Spring 2019.

Climate change projections suggest that California will experience profound changes in the hydrologic regimes that influence its water resources systems. Uncertainties that need to be refined include both technical (hydrologic modeling, decision-making, and so forth), and institutional (analysis of the water rights system). We are working in both areas, and integrating across the two.



The URA will contribute to interdisciplinary publications within this topic area.

Apprentices could fill several possible roles in this area, depending on the project.

For an exceptional and motivated candidate, possibility exists for collaboration in workshops and published reports targeting water decision makers.


Qualifications: Strong writing skills, ability to conduct independent literature research and synthesis, comfort incorporating across disciplines and working with shifting priorities. Technical and engineering background, or economics and finance, would be particularly valuable. Skills including statistics, modeling, programming (esp. R), econometrics, excel and similar skills could be very valuable for some project aspects.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated