The Berkeley Water Center is located in O'Brien Hall on the UC Berkeley Campus. Berkeley is a compact city of 18 square miles that boasts extremely diverse options for recreational activities, ranging from arts & culture to windsurfing. Berkeley is known for its restaurants, where choices range from ethnic to world famous establishments, such as Chez Panisse, located in what locals call the ‘Gourmet Ghetto’. In terms of personality, Berkeley is often described as a very ‘international’ US city, with stimulating academics and a consummately California environment. Late night coffee shops and cafés with WiFi connections are plentiful. The population is educated, with over 65% of the residence having attended college, and a significant portion of those holding PhD degrees. The University of California and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are the largest employers in the city, with an employee count that is one fifth of the population of Berkeley. The climate in Berkeley is moderate, with winter temperatures around 50 degrees F and summer temperatures around 65 degrees F. The local area surrounding Berkeley also offers exciting rural and urban entertainment value: San Francisco is located 12 miles away, Napa Valley is located 40 miles away, and Monterey and the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Yosemite and Lake Tahoe) are located about 150 miles away.
The attractive and unique characteristics of Berkeley entice visiting researchers as well as their families to the BWC. BWC serves as a hydrological ‘community center’ for hydrologists visiting the Bay Area, such as during the Fall American Geophysical Union meeting, which is held each December in San Francisco.
Berkeley is conveniently located close to several international airports (Oakland-12 miles away; San Francisco-20 miles away, San Jose-45 miles away) and major highways. As such, transportation to the center will be cheap, and logistics will be very simple. Airport Shuttles run regularily between Berkeley and the airports. Berkeley is connected through the Bay area with the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) subway system, and through California and elsewhere by Amtrak. City buses serve as arteries from BART to outer reaches of the city. However, because most of the activity is focused around the university, Berkeley is primarily a ‘"walking-biking" city, and it is easy for visitors to get to and around Berkeley without a car.