The Berkeley Water Center can help connect journalists, industry partners or legislators to experts about water issues. Please contact each faculty member directly, or for further assistance,  contact Sasha Harris-Lovett at

David Sedlak

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering , co-director of the Berkeley Water Center
Phone: (510) 643-0256

Sedlak is author of "Water 4.0: The Past, Present and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource" (Yale Press, 2014), and the deputy director of Re-inventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt), a research center funded by the National Science Foundation and led in partnership with Stanford University.

Sedlak's research area focuses on environmental chemistry, water quality engineering and ecological engineering. He can discuss the options of water reuse, or augmenting water supplies with municipal wastewater effluent.

Kara Nelson

Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Phone: (510) 643-5023

Nelson's research program addresses critical issues at the intersection of public health and the environment, with a focus on reducing the threat posed by waterborne pathogens by improving our engineering infrastructure to make it more effective, affordable, as well as maximize its environmental benefits.  Specific research areas include mechanisms of pathogen inactivation, molecular techniques for pathogen detection, optimizing treatment processes, water reuse, and challenges with providing safe drinking water and sanitation in the developing world. She is the Director of Graduate Education at the Engineering Research Center for Reinventing our Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt), and the faculty leader of the Research Thrust Area on Safe Water and Sanitation at Berkeley Water Center.  Dr. Nelson was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) at a ceremony in the White House in 2004.  This award is the nation’s highest honor for scientists in the early stages of their career.  She currently conducts research in the United States, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Panama, and Colombia.  


Fred and Claire Sauer Professor of Environmental Engineering
Phone: (510) 643-5969
Alvarez-Cohen is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She is on the Editorial Advisory Board of Environmental Science and Technology and is an Associate Editor of Environmental Engineering Science.. Her research areas include environmental microbiology and ecology, biotransformation and fate of environmental and wastewater contaminants, and innovative molecular and isotopic techniques for studying microbial ecology of communities involved in wastewater treatment and bioremediation communities.

Isha Ray

Associate Professor with Energy Resources Group and Co-Director of the Berke­ley Water Center
Phone: 642-1640

Ray’s research inter­ests are water and devel­op­ment; tech­nol­ogy and devel­op­ment; com­mon prop­erty resources; and social sci­ence research meth­ods. Her research projects focus on access to water and san­i­ta­tion for the rural and urban poor, and on the role of tech­nol­ogy in improv­ing liveli­hoods. Her research in Cal­i­for­nia is focused on meth­ods to elicit pub­lic per­cep­tions of energy and cli­mate change poli­cies. She teaches courses on research meth­ods in the social sci­ences, water and devel­op­ment, and envi­ron­men­tal classics. In addi­tion to research and teach­ing, she has exten­sive past and ongo­ing expe­ri­ence in the non-profit sec­tor on sus­tain­able rural devel­op­ment in India, and inter­na­tional devel­op­ment– and freshwater-related issues.

Ashok Gadgil

Andrew and Virginia Rudd Family Foundation Professor of Safe Water and Sanitation
Phone: (510) 486 - 4651

Gadgil has substantial experience in technical, economic, and policy research on energy efficiency and its implementation — particularly in developing countries. His research areas cover Drinking Water Treatment; Technology Innovation and Technology Maturation for Impact, in cluding projects like Arsenic remediation of groundwater used for drinking; Advanced technologies for Capacitive Deionization; Low cost effective remediation of excess fluoride from groundwater used for drinking.

He has several patents and inventions to his credit, among them the "UV Waterworks," a technology to inexpensively disinfect drinking water in the developing countries, for which he received the Discover Award in 1996 for the most significant environmental invention of the year, as well as the Popular Science award for "Best of What is New – 1996". In recent years, he has worked on ways to inexpensively remove arsenic from Bangladesh drinking water, and on fuel-efficient stoves for Darfur.


John (Jack) M. Colford Jr.

Professor of Epidemiology
Phone: (510) 642-9370

Colford is Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. He has served as the Principal Investigator for numerous randomized field trials and observational studies evaluating the impact of water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions in India, Bolivia, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Kenya, Mexico, and the United States. He teaches courses each year at UC Berkeley on Epidemiologic Methods, the Design of Randomized Controlled Trials, and on Impact Evaluation for Health Professionals. He is an attending physician in Infectious Diseases at the UCSF/VA Medical Center in San Francisco.

Holly Doremus

James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor of Environmental Regulation; Associate Dean, Faculty Development and Research; Co-Director, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment
Phone: (510) 643-5699

Doremus is a leading scholar and teacher in the areas of environmental law, natural resources law, and law and science. Doremus brings a strong background in life sciences and a commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship to her work at Berkeley Law. She has been a principal investigator on two major NSF IGERT interdisciplinary training grants and a multidisciplinary grant dealing with hydropower relicensing in California. She has co-authored papers with economists and ecologists, and has been a member of two National Research Council review committees. Eight of Doremus's articles in the legal literature have been selected for reprinting in the Land Use and Environment Law Review, an annual compilation of the year's leading works. 

B. Lynn Ingram

Professor of Earth and Planetary Science and of Geography
Phone: (510) 643-1474
Ingram, co-author (with Frances Malamud-Roam) of "The West Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow" (UC Press, 2013), is a paleoclimatologist who studies rocks, sediments, shells, microfossils and trees for clues to changes in climate that occurred long before humans arrived in the Western Hemisphere.

Ingram says that California has had a thousand-year history of megadroughts and megafloods. Some, such as the flood of 1861-62 that left Sacramento and most of the Central Valley underwater, occurred within historical memory. "If you go back thousands of years, you see that droughts can go on for years if not decades, and there were some dry periods that lasted over a century," she said.

Head of the Laboratory for Environmental and Sedimentary Isotope Geochemistry (LESIG) at UC Berkeley, Ingram focuses on the chemistry of fossil shells taken from sediment beneath San Francisco Bay. Her study areas include marshlands around the Bay as well as sites in China, Australia and French Polynesia, encompassing terrestrial, coastal, estuarine and coral reef environments.

Maximilian Auffhammer

George Pardee Jr. Porfessor in International Sustainable Development
Regional Associate Dean, Letters and Science

Phone: (510) 643-5472

Dr. Auffhammer can address the economic impact of the drought on California agriculture and agricultural labor.  His research also includes the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution on agriculture as well as the economic value of irrigation water.



George W. and Elsie M. Robinson Chair in Food and Agricultural Resources Economics
Phone: (510) 642-6570 (office) or (510) 290-9515 (cell) 

Zilberman's research interests are agricultural policy, water quality and conservation, economics of technological change and natural resources, and micro-economic theory. He has studied the adoption of modern irrigation technologies in California, and the economics of water markets and water rights. A study he led on how California responded to the drought of 1987-1991 showed the importance of having reservoirs that allow for slowing the impact of drought. The study also demonstrated the capacity of California agriculture to adjust to shortages by increased reliance of groundwater and adoption of conservation tools.