Symposium: Incentivizing Groundwater Recharge

Join the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment for a symposium on incentivizing groundwater recharge on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 from 8:30 am - 6:30 pm. This symposium  addresses key questions including: Who benefits from groundwater recharge? What conditions are necessary for a recharge project to succeed? How can implementation be incentivized? How should recharge projects be governed? What emerging and novel techniques hold promise for future managed aquifer recharge? Following the symposium, former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt will give a public lecture on groundwater and management challenges in the West.

Mass gatherings can facilitate infectious disease transmission

In a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, a team of interdisciplinary researchers, includign BWC affiliate Justin Remais, found that even modestly sized community gatherings were associated with increased transmission of diarrheal diseases—a major global killer—in a study region in Esmeraldas, Ecuador.

Sedlak Attends BlueTech Forum

Berkeley Water Center Co-Director David Sedlak, author of Water 4.0: The Past, Present and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource, spoke at the BlueTech Forum 2019 in Kew Gardens, London, UK on June 5-6, 2019.

BWC Collaborates with GMS,BII

Coming together with an interdisciplinary group of faculty for possible collaboration, Berkeley Water Center (BWC) co-directors David Sedlak and Isha Ray met with a group of Berkeley Water Center affiliates, members of the Global Metropolitan Studies program (GMS) and Berkeley Infrastructure Initiative (BII) for a productive discussion May 16, 2019.

Investment in renewable energy could save tropical rivers

 Matt Kondolf, BWC affilaite and Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning professor and colleagues argue the key to saving the planet’s tropical rivers lies in investing in renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind power rather than building large hydropower dams in a commentary published in Nature.

TGIF Grant to Fund Campus Water Map

The Berkeley Water Center (BWC) is excited to announce they have received one of the Spring 2019 The Green Initiative Fund grants for a new project: Campus Water Sustainability Research and Opportunities Map.

Hubbard, Zilberman Earn Top Honors

Congratulations to Berkeley Water Center affiliates Susan Hubbard, Associate Laboratory Director of the Earth & Environmental Sciences Area, on being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and College of Natural Resources Professor David Zilberman on being elected to the National Academy of Sciences, in recognition of their outstanding achievements in original research.

2019 Bay Area WASH Symposium

UC Berkeley welcomed students, professors and researchers interested in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to campus May 3, 2019 for the Bay Area WASH Symposium.

What Does the 2018 Farm Bill Mean for California and the Environment?

Berkeley Water Center affiliates Ellen M. Bruno and David Zilberman write about What Does the 2018 Farm Bill Mean for California and the Environment? Spotlight on the Conservation Programs  in the University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics’ latest edition of its bimonthly ARE Update newsletter.

Learning from Failure: NextDrop’s Water Information Pilot in Bangalore

At the March Blum Center Faculty Salon, Berkeley Water Center co-director and Energy and Resources Group Associate Professor Isha Ray and BWC affiliate and Political Science Associate Professor Alison Post studied the Berkeley start up NextDrop and shared their analysis of the effects of the social enterprise, which designed a mobile phone intervention to alert Indian households via text when to expect water supply.

Zapping Lead Pipes with Electricity Could Make Them Safer for Drinking Water

In an attempt to make lead pipes safer, Berkeley Water Center affiliate and Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Ashok Gadgil and his graduate student Gabriel Lobo are working on a new technology that uses electrical current to rapidly build a protective layer on the insides of the pipes.

Water is Another Word for Life

Isha Ray presents the Spring 2019 MDP Special Lecture on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 6:30 – 7:30pm in the Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley.

The Next Revolution of Water

On the precipice of a global water crisis that is guiding the next water revolution, Civil and Environmental Engineering professor and Berkeley Water Center DIrector  David Sedlak provides an overview of how we got to where we are today and a glimpse into the future of water in a new podcast with Brave Blue World.

How Development of America’s Water Infrastructure Has Lurched Through History

Berkeley Water Center Co-Director David Sedlak writes about How Development of America’s Water Infrastructure Has Lurched Through History for the Pew Center at Trend Magazine.

Celebrating World Water Day

World Water Day, an annual United Nations observance day, is here and the Berkeley Water Center at the University of California Berkeley is here to help connect you with resources!  

It’s Elementary: Grad Students Head to Local Schools in the Name of Science

For many students deep in their doctoral research, distilling their research down can be a challenge, but for a group of Berkeley Water students, the challenge was accepted and they’re having a blast doing it with Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS).

Competition over California’s water, after the rains

ESPM professor Dennis Baldocchi discusses how California’s water balance, what is left after precipitation runs off, drains and evaporates, is complicated by its diverse geography, ecosystems and microclimates, its wet, cool winters and hot dry summers, and its swings between booms and busts in annual rainfall in the Berkeley Blog.

Kara Nelson on Aspirational Technologies and the Sustainable Development Goals

In 1990, at the age of 20, Kara Nelson found herself in a refugee camp in Zimbabwe, just months before the new independence government lifted a 10-year-old ban on land redistribution. The UC Berkeley biophysics student was taking a gap year to see what life was like as a non-student, and the realities of what she chose to see hit her hard.

Federal effort to raise Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet is getting some serious pushback

Ted Grantham, Berkeley professor of environmental science, policy and management, and Matt Kondolf, director of UC Berkeley’s River-Lab, talk about upcoming water storage battles and the current effort to raise Shasta Dam.

Economic policy approaches to water allocation in California
A conversation with Dr. Ellen Bruno, an Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist in quantitative policy analysis at UC Berkeley. Her research evaluates the effectiveness of different policy instruments for improving the management of our increasingly scarce water resources.


Assessing coral bleaching vulnerability in the Caribbean

Climate change has fueled coral reef bleaching throughout the tropics, with negative consequences for reef ecosystems and the people who depend on them. A new study finds that in the Caribbean, independent island nations such as Cuba and Jamaica are less vulnerable to coral bleaching than island territories like Saint Barthélemy.

David Zilberman awarded Wolf Prize in Agriculture

David Zilberman, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at UC Berkeley, has been awarded the 2019 Wolf Prize in Agriculture in recognition of his work developing economic models for fundamental problems in agriculture, economics, and policy.

Lee named a 2019 ASCE New Face of CE

Paul Lee, now a civil engineering associate for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, specializes in renewable energy solutions. 

Weldegebriel Wins AGU's Outstanding Student Presentation
Liya Weldegebriel, advised by Sally Thompson, wins an Outstanding Student Presentation Award (OSPA) at last year's American Geophysical Union conference.
Brave Blue World Documentary – A Perfect Storm For Water

Called Brave Blue World, the feature-length documentary will provoke a fundamental rethink, revolution and paradigm shift in how people view the treatment and delivery of water, a vital element to life on Earth, and features BWC DIrector David Sedlak.

Trust in water markets must be earned

Nell Green Nylen and Michael Kiparsky talk about  with markets increasingly viewed as a preferred (or even the only) solution to water challenges, faith in market efficiency must be tempered with a firm grasp of the larger physical and institutional context for water.

Key health impacts of climate change likely to be underestimated, study shows

Heavy rainfall and flooding have long been known to increase the risk of waterborne infectious diseases by exposing people to contaminated floodwaters and overwhelming water and sanitation systems. In a study published today in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers at Berkeley found that, without accurate measurement of climate variables like rainfall, we may be substantially underestimating the impact of extreme weather on the global incidence of diarrheal diseases.

Oceans are warming even faster than previously thought

Heat trapped by greenhouse gases is raising ocean temperatures faster than previously thought, concludes an analysis of four recent ocean-heating observations. The results provide further evidence that earlier claims of a slowdown or “hiatus” in global warming over the past 15 years were unfounded.

Cook wins Geosyntec Groundwater Competition

Emily Cook is a winner in the 2019 Geosyntec Groundwater Student Paper Competition

From Intermittent to Continuous Water Supply
A Household-level Evaluation of Water System Reforms in Hubli–Dharwad from Berkeley Water Center Co-Director  Isha Ray, BWC professors John M Colford Jr,andKara Nelson, and BWC alumni Zachary Burt and Ayşe Ercümen in Economic and Political Weekly.
Lisa Alvarez-Cohen selected as a 2018 AEESP Fellow

Professor Lisa Alvarez-Cohen has been selected as 2018 Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) Fellow.

Alumnus William Tarpeh named among Forbes 30 under 30 for 2018

William Tarpeh (CE 'PhD '17) was named among Forbes 30 Under 30 for 2018.

Watch Alumnus Richard Luthy's Distinguished Lecture on "Sustainable Water Supplies for California."

Professor Richard Luthy (CEE MS '74; PhD '76) was the honored speaker at the 2018 CEE Fall Distinguished Lecture.  

The Beautiful Rivers—And the Dammed

Advances in solar and wind power mean that hydropower is no longer the only renewable game in town—and that’s good news for the world’s rivers.


Thompson, Rakhmatulina explore how fire affects water movement

Professor Sally Thompson and CEE PhD student Katya Rakhmatulina study fire and water in Yosemite National Park's Illilouette Basin.

When the Pits Fill Up: A Day in the Life of Sanitation Workers in Urban India

India’s flagship sanitation program, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), highlights both the importance of latrine use, and also of “safe and proper disposal”.

Fire + water: Restoring natural fire to California’s mountains

It’s one of just two wilderness areas in California where fire officials allow lightning-sparked fires to burn by default — with careful monitoring. That makes it an ideal living laboratory for scientists like Sally Thompson, professor of environmental engineering at UC Berkeley, who has used it to study how the frequency of fire affects the movement of water through the landscape.

UC Berkeley leads new assessment of Bay Area climate impacts

California issued its latest assessment of the many challenges the state faces from climate change and highlighted the regional impacts with nine deep-dive reports spearheaded by UC scientists, including Mark Stacey, Kara Nelson and Jennifer Stokes-Draut.

Kristina Hill Warns About Rising Tides and the Future of Real Estate

The Union of Concerned Scientists’ recent report on the economic damage and displacement that sea-level rise flooding will unleash called for investments “in a range of coastal adaptive measures.”

Engineered sand zaps storm water pollutants

UC Berkeley engineers have created a new way to remove contaminants from storm water, potentially addressing the needs of water-stressed communities that are searching for ways to tap the abundant and yet underused source of fresh drinking water.

How Normalization of Bottled Water Use Undermines Water Utilities

When standing in front of rows upon rows of bottled water at the supermarket, have you ever thought about what those bottles represent on a global scale? Berkeley Water Center (BWC) researchers have, and it does not bode well for providing safe drinking water in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). BWC Co-Director Isha Ray and Project Scientist Alasdair Cohen recently published an article in the Journal Nature Sustainability explaining the Global Risks of Increasing Reliance on Bottled Water.

Graduation 2018

Congratulations to our 2018 Berkeley Water Center graduates: Joe Charbonnet, Hannah Greenwald (graduated with her MS, but she's staying for a PhD,  Sasha Harris-Lovitt, and Emily Kraemer.

Is WaterFix Another Megaproject Gone Awry?

Jennifer Stokes-Draut, a research engineer at the Berkeley Water Center, is featured in the California Alumni Magazine talking about the megaproject California WaterFix, also known as the Delta Tunnels. 

Joe Charbonnet wins UC-wide 2018 Grad Slam Championship

CEE PhD student Joe Charbonnet was named the winner of the UC-wide 2018 Grad Slam Championship.  Last month, Charbonnet placed first, and was the People's Choice winner, in Berkeley's 2018 championship. As Berkeley's champion, he advanced to the UC-wide competition.

Berkeley’s Grad Slam Winner to Vie at UC-Wide Competition on May 3rd

Berkeley’s Joe Charbonnet is a fifth-year Ph.D. student In Environmental Engineering. His talk, titled “A Stormwater Solution,” explained how sand coated with manganese oxide — “Man-Sand” for short — can remove contaminants from stormwater, to re-use for municipal purposes. “This technology helps cities save their rain for a sunny day,” he notes. He is currently field-testing the use of this sand to replenish California’s underground aquifers.

Pit Vidura: Sanitation Solutions for Urban Rwanda

Berkeley water group is celebrating the achievements of a UC Berkeley founded social enterprise:  Pit Vidura, which provides safe and affordable pit latrine and septic tank emptying services for households in dense urban settlements of Kigali, Rwanda.

Sedlak Added To 2018 WRF Research Conference

The 2018 Water Research Foundation Conference on Advancing Reuse and Integrated Water is quickly approaching, and David Sedlak will be joining the renowned list of this year’s keynote speakers, which also includes Peter Colohan (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and Peter Grevatt (U.S. EPA).

Advancing the Dialogue on Potable Water Reuse

ReNUWIt, EPA, The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread offer solutions to battle wastewater reuse in drinking water stigma

Sally Thompson appointed the inaugural holder of the Clare & Hsieh Wen Shen Distinguished Professorship

Professor Sally Thompson has been appointed the inaugural holder of the Clare & Hsieh Wen Shen Distinguished Professorship in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Could the Feds Bigfoot California Over Water?

Holly Doremus, a Berkeley Law professor and environmental law authority, talks about Could the Feds Bigfoot California Over Water? at California Magazine.

School of Public Health study finds correlation between California drought and crime

A four-year study conducted by UC Berkeley School of Public Health researchers found a significant association between the California drought and property crime rates. Dana E. Goin, an epidemiology PhD student, Kara E. Rudolph, a post-doctoral scholar, and Jennifer Ahern, an associate professor of epidemiology, found two primary links between the drought and crime rate—first, major shifts in climate have economic and social consequences which may change crime patterns and, second, changes in daily weather patterns can change human behavior and daily activities, increasing risk of victimization.

Are Wet Winters or Drought Worse for California Fires?

Professor Sally Thompson was asked, "So are wet winters worse for fires? Or are dry winters worse?" The answer to both questions, is yes. “Regardless of winter precipitation, wildland fuels inevitably are desiccated and ready to burn by late summer and fall,” Thompson says. “The risk is better calculated from a daily rather than an annual perspective—what the humidity is, and what the winds are doing on a particular day."

Gabrielle Boisramé on the Relationship between Wildfires and Water Supply

Alumna Gabrielle Boisramé (CE PhD '16; advisor Sally Thompson) authored A Tale of Two Fires:  How Wildfires Can Both Help and Harm our Water Supply (California WaterBlog, 12.3.17).

Arpad Horvath Appointed Lawrence E. Peirano Professor

The Provost has approved Professor Arpad Horvath's appointment to the  Lawrence E. Peirano Endowed Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering, for a five-year term, effective July 1, 2017.

The Pope and sanitation

Berkeley water PhD student Chris Hyun looks at what the pope says about sanitation. Why? There are about 1.4 billion people without access to proper sanitation. There are about 1.1 billion Catholics in the world. If every Catholic follows what the pope orders in this encyclical, it would go a long way to fixing our sanitation problems. So, what does he say?

The sanitation and urban agriculture nexus: urine collection and application as fertilizer in São Paulo, Brazil

Separately collected urine is an attractive potential fertilizer because of its high nutrient content, low cost, and inherent linkage of urban wastewater management and peri-urban agriculture. Urine from waterless urinals was applied to corn and lettuce plants to examine the impact of urine application rates and frequency on plant growth and soil parameters. In both corn and lettuce experiments, urine application significantly (p < 0.05) increased growth and leaf production relative to control plants. More frequent applications led to lower soil cation exchange capacities for corn and higher soil nitrogen content for both crops. Based on preliminary implementation calculations, waterless urinals at the University of São Paulo (USP), School of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities campus could lead to over 1,500 m3 of water saved and 360 m3 of urine produced on an annual basis. These experiments and modeling results are discussed in the context of scaling up urban urine collection, transport, and fertilization in São Paulo, Brazil.

Solar Drinking Water Disinfection (SODIS) to Reduce Childhood Diarrhoea in Rural Bolivia: A Cluster-Randomized, Controlled Trial

Despite an extensive SODIS promotion campaign we found only moderate compliance with the intervention and no strong evidence for a substantive reduction in diarrhoea among children. These results suggest that there is a need for better evidence of how the well-established laboratory efficacy of this home-based water treatment method translates into field effectiveness under various cultural settings and intervention intensities. Further global promotion of SODIS for general use should be undertaken with care until such evidence is available.

Toilet Cleaners of Lucknow

BWC Co-Director Isha Ray and PhD student CS Sharada Prasad  focus on the back-end of the sanitation chain, on those who clean out latrines where there is no flush or sewer to carry away the waste in a pictoral essay.

Basic to Applied Science For Sustainable Development

Members of the Berkeley Water Center community were welcomed at the Basic to Applied Science for Sustainable Development symposia on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, sponsored by Cell Press Lablinks.

Cal Future Forum: Our Changing World

Responding to the global impacts of human activity, UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Lab have long been leaders in the research needed to understand and respond effectively to humanity's global environmental impact. And that research was on display May 12, 2017 at the Cal Future Forum, showcasing developing energy efficiency standards that are now used around the world, developing technologies for making our cities more resilient to droughts and floods, converting sunlight into modern fuels, assessing the impact of the sixth mass extinction, to forecasting future change

How to Get a Job in a Water Laboratory

Berkeley Water Center graduate Denise Li was the first in her family to go to college, now she enjoys her water career as a laboratory professional working for clean water. See her story.

Ashok Gadgil Recognized with Social Justice Award

Ashok Gadgil, Senior Faculty Scientist at Berkeley Lab, has been recognized as a Social Design Circle honoree for 2017 by the Curry Stone Design Prize. The prize awards innovative projects that use design to address pressing social justice issues.

Susan Hubbard Named 2017 American Geophysical Union Fellow

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has named Susan Hubbard, Associate Laboratory Director for the Earth & Environmental Sciences Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as a 2017 AGU Fellow.

Global use of wastewater to irrigate agriculture at least 50% greater than previously thought, says new study

The use of untreated wastewater from cities to irrigate crops downstream is 50 percent more widespread than previously thought, according to a new study published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters.


Public Spaces, Private Acts: Toilets and Gender Equality

Isha Ray examines gender equality through the lens of access to basic sanitation. Moving beyond what the United Nations and others have proposed, Ray argues that in-home toilets are inadequate because they fail to account for those without homes, or those who are not home all day. Rather, if we are to make sanitation truly accessible, we must explicitly design and construct infrastructure that meets the needs of the most marginalized—including the low-income woman whose dignity and mobility rests on the presence of clean, safe facilities outside of the home.

On California, the drought and the ‘yuck factor’

Although hydrologists say California has emerged from its most recent drought, how cities get their water is weighing on the state’s experts — now more than ever. David Sedlak, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley, says our urban water infrastructure, mostly built after World War II as California underwent massive development, needs a major upgrade in order to keep our cities thriving well into the future.

Congrats 2017 BWC Grads

Congratulations to our 2017 Berkeley Water Center graduates Adam Rausch, Katya Cherukumilli, James Barazesh, Will Tarpah, Olga Kavvada, and Tom Bruton!

Smart Moves: California's next-gen infrastructure

Mention infrastructure and what comes to mind are the physical components that hold a society together, the roads, bridges and dams, power lines, railroad tracks, cell-phone towers and all the rest. But soon the word will mean something much bigger and much smaller: a resilient infrastructure that can manage the energy, water, transportation and other human needs on scales from individual homes to whole cities and entire states.

BWC Students Mentor on Shadow Day

Opening doors and horizons for the next generation of students, Berkeley Water Center doctoral students Lauren Kennedy and Scott Miller and Environmental Engineering doctoral student Kimberly Huynh opened their labs and classes to three area high school students April 13, 2017 during the 24th Annual YWCA Shadow Day at UC Berkeley.

Berkeley Hosts WASH Symposium

UC Berkeley welcomed area health, water and sanitation researchers, professional to campus April 5, 2017 for a full day of presentations at the Bay Area Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Symposium.

Marching For Science

Many Berkeley Water Center and Re-inventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt) students and researchers celebrated Earth Day by joining thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets of San Francisco on Saturday, April 22, 2017 to participate in the March for Science. 

Berkeley Lab Names Peter Fiske Director of Water-Energy Resilience Institute

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has tapped Peter Fiske to be the director of its Water-Energy Resilience Institute, a new position that underscores the Lab’s commitment to developing solutions for the challenges associated with the interdependence of water and energy systems. Fiske will join Berkeley Lab on May 15.

Doremus Elected AAAS Fellow

Berkeley Water Center affilite Holly Doremus has been elected as afellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, joining more than 220 others on campus who have been honored for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun

Imagine a future in which every home has an appliance that pulls all the water the household needs out of the air, even in dry or desert climates, using only the power of the sun.

That future may be around the corner, with the demonstration this week of a water harvester that uses only ambient sunlight to pull liters of water out of the air each day in conditions as low as 20 percent humidity, a level common in arid areas.

Enviro Team builds water treatment system — to Ed Sheeran

The Cal Enviromental Team, BEARuption, has been hard at work designing an innovative, practical, robust water treatment for use on synthetic wastewater modeled after water in a polluted, stagnant irrigation canal following a volcanic eruption.

Collaborating to Improve Home Water Treatment in Rural China

Doctoral student Alasdair Cohen collaborates with government health researchers to better understand water treatment methods in rural China, leading to formal research collaboration between UC Berkeley and the CDC-China.

Climate change has the potential to alter natural selection, study finds

Changing rainfall and drought patterns likely play a key role in shaping natural selection among plants and animals in the wild, according to a study published today involving UC Berkeley scientists, including Stephanie Carlson.

Professor Emeritus Jim Hunt Passes Away

Jim Hunt, CEE faculty member for 33 years, an expert in groundwater transport of organic contaminants and former Co-Director of the Berkeley water Center (BWC), died on Feb. 20 after a brief illness.

Science Talk at Cal Conference

This conference will focus on the challenges of communicating the sciences to the public, involving some of the best scientists and communications specialists from the fields of water, food, and climate change, including BWC co-director David Sedlak on April 22, 2017 (Earth Day) at 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in the Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California, Berkeley

Ken Goldberg Investigates Robot-Assisted Precision Irrigation To Help Address Global Water Demand

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided University of California researchers a $1 million grant to investigate how robots might help revolutionize global agriculture with precision irrigation. IEOR Professor Ken Goldberg, in collaboration with UC Merced Professor Stefano Carpin and Professor Josh Viers, and UC Davis Professor Stavros Vougioukas, started a project called RAPID (Robot-Assisted Precision Irrigation Delivery) to utilize robots to reduce water usage while improving yields.

Measuring household consumption and waste in unmetered, intermittent piped water systems

Measurements of household water consumption are extremely difficult in intermittent water supply (IWS) regimes in low- and middle-income countries, where water is delivered for short durations, taps are shared, metering is limited, and household storage infrastructure varies widely. Nonetheless, consumption estimates are necessary for utilities to improve water delivery. Emily Kumpel, Cleo Woelfle-Erskine, Isha Ray , and Kara L. Nelson estimated household water use in Hubli-Dharwad, India, with a mixed-methods approach combining (limited) metered data, storage container inventories, and structured observations. 


Researchers are searching for more cost-effective alternatives for treating wastewater. Professor David Sedlak  of UC Berkeley is working on a solution: constructed wetlands with graduate students Aidan Cecchetti and Rachel Scholes.

NSF Awards $3M to Dev. Engineering: Kara Nelson, Co-Director

The National Science Foundation has awarded $3 million to Berkeley’s Development Engineering program to create new models for training graduate students to find innovative solutions to food, energy and water challenges in developing countries. Professor Kara Nelson is a co-leader of the program.  Professor Ashok Gadgil was instrumental in creating the Development Engineering minor.

Thompson, Boisramé and Fire Management

PhD student Gabrielle Boisramé and Professor Sally Thompson have co-authored a study that shows that managing fire, rather than suppressing it, makes wilderness areas more resilient to fire—with the added benefit of increased water availability and resistance to drought.

Hermanowicz & Sedlak give keynote lectures at ICSI in Shenzhen, China

CEE Professor Slav Hermanowicz and BWC Co-Director David Sedlak gave keynote lectures at the International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI 2016) was held in Shenzhen from October 17-19, under the theme of “a sustainable future for China, the Asian region and the world.”

Lessons in Flow Cytometry

Using a simple inquiry as a teaching moment, Berkeley Water Center PhD student Scott Miller invited fellow students into the lab to learn about flow cytometry and its applications to measure water quality.

NewsDeeply: Berkeley Experts to Watch

Water Deeply, a news source designed to help people understand the complex web of environmental, social and economic issues contributing to the drought crisis in California, has compiled a list of water experts to watch and Berkeley Water Center experts, affiliates and alumni are in demand.

Baoxia Mi speaks at NAE symposium

Professor Baoxia Mi was one of the 17 invited speakers at the 2016 National Academy of Engineering US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, held on September 19-21 in Irvine, California.

Well in Control: Berkeley Startup Helps People Find Out What They’re Drinking

Tens of millions of U.S. residents get their water from private wells that have no oversight at all, but a team of Berkeley scientists and entrepreneurs—led by John Pujol, civil and environmental engineer; and Susan Amrose, assistant project scientist and lecturer in Cal’s engineering department, and program director at Berkeley Lab’s Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies are on it.

CEE alumna gives TED talk on why water is a women's issue [video]

Eleanor Allen (CE MS '97) and 2015 Academy of Distinguished Alumni inductee gave a TED talk on Why Water is a Women's Issue.

Saykally continues quest for “universal first-principles” model of water

For a simple compound that is central to almost every aspect of our existence, water remains fiendishly difficult to understand. No one appreciates this better than chemistry professor Rich Saykally, who has devoted many years to studying water.

Study links Texas earthquakes to wastewater injection

A new study co-authored by UC Berkeley professor Michael Manga confirms that earthquakes in America’s oil country — including a 4.8 magnitude quake that rocked Texas in 2012 — are being triggered by significant injections of wastewater below the surface of the Earth.

As global climate warms, new study looks to minimize risks of waterborne disease

A UC Berkeley School of Public Health research team has been awarded a $2 million, 3-year grant by the National Science Foundation to develop new approaches for understanding and responding to changes in waterborne infectious disease risks that come with a changing and more variable climate.

Follow ocean-going robots, and their scientists, for 10 days at sea

What’s life like aboard a scientific research vessel plying the California coast deploying robots to unlock important data about climate change? A team of scientists and engineers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley have just set out on such a venture. 

Peruvian Scientific Water Institute Visits BWC

Berkeley Water Center (BWC) leadership welcomed representatives from the Water Committee of the Inter-American Network of Academies of Science (IANAS) Thursday, July 21, 2016 to talk shop about BWC projects, operation, organization and future collaborations as part of a water group tour within the University of California system and the Bay Area.

Cancer-causing chemical in drinking water traced to fire-fighting foam

Fire-fighting foam containing highly fluorinated chemicals is contaminating drinking water supplies around many of the nation’s military bases, airports and industrial sites, according to a new study by UC Berkeley and Harvard University researchers

An Energy Strategy that Can Take the Heat

At first, it sounds ominous: Molten salts, heated to 600 or even 900 °C (about 1,700°F, pumped through the pipes surrounding a nuclear reactor. But a molten salt mixture may make a smart substitute for water to extract heat from nuclear reactors — or thermal solar power plants — and deliver it to turbines to generate electricity.

Rising seas: A new look at resilient infrastructure

We know that our changing climate will bring rising sea levels to the Bay Area. But do we know how to handle it? Mark Stacey, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has assembled a cross-disciplinary team to find out. The research is part of a National Science Foundation-sponsored initiative examining critical infrastructure resiliency.

Q&A: Lead, chloramines and drinking water safety

Conditions leading to widespread lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan are not unique to the troubled Rust Belt city. In recent decades, Flint and many other cities have made the switch from chlorine to chloramine for water treatment; this can, without proper management, release toxic lead from old pipes directly into drinking water. Here in California, the city of Stockton drew pointed criticism from environmental activist Erin Brockovich for making the switch in January. But as civil and environmental engineering professor David Sedlak explains, some of that fear may be misplaced.  

In the Water Works: Bringing Clean Water to Kenya’s Largest Slum

Nairobi is a tough town, and there’s no place in Nairobi that’s tougher than Kibera, Africa’s largest slum. Maybe a half-million people live there, maybe a million. No one’s really counting. But virtually everyone is desperately poor, with per capita earnings averaging about a dollar a day. Rape, assault, and murder are simple facts of daily life. The streets are paved with rotting garbage, sewage flows in the gutters, disease is rampant, and city services are largely nonexistent. But Kibera does have one thing that isn’t hellish and misery-inducing: a water production and treatment facility that conjoins the latest information and sensor technology with sophisticated green construction techniques; a facility that transcends its humble environs and points to the urban infrastructure of the future.

From waves to electricity

Reza Alam, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, studies how mechanical devices might convert ocean waves into electricity. In 2012, visiting graduate student Marcus Lehmann joined Alam’s Theoretical and Applied Fluid Dynamics Lab. His designs for a working prototype helped spark Alam’s lab to begin building a machine to harness wave energy, which they call a Wave Carpet.

Building an organ in the marsh

Madeline Foster-Martinez has built a marsh organ as part of her doctoral research in environmental engineering, a simple device that measures the effectiveness of using biosolids — treated sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plants — as tidal wetland restoration material.

Hazards and opportunities in the pipeline

In his 2014 book, Water 4.0, UC Berkeley environmental engineer David Sedlak identifies four “revolutions” in the development of urban water systems.

Thompson, Penny win HESS Best Paper Award

Professor Sally Thompson and PhD candidate Gopal Penny, along with collaborators in India, received the 2015 Jim Dooge Award for the best paper in the European Geophysical Union's flagship journal "Hydrology and Earth System Science".

Change we must believe in

 Lynn Ingram, UC Berkeley professor of geography and earth and planetary science, likens paleoclimatology—the study of ancient climates—to detective work: she gathers “whatever evidence is remaining” and works out clever ways to translate physical attributes of natural artifacts into knowledge of Earth’s distant past.

Rising seas: A new look at resilient infrastructure

We know that our changing climate will bring rising sea levels to the Bay Area. But do we know how to handle it? Mark Stacey, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has assembled a cross-disciplinary team to find out. The research is part of a National Science Foundation-sponsored initiative examining critical infrastructure resiliency.

Using Mobile Phones to Alert Households Waiting for ‘NextDrop’ of Water

A UC Berkeley student created the phone-based program NextDrop to notify people when water will be available, because although nearly half of the world’s population has water piped into their homes and there have been significant improvements to water access in recent decades, many people living in urban areas of developing countries still do not have easy access to this most basic resource.

Water-Energy Nexus New Focus of Berkeley Lab Research

Billions of gallons of water are used each day in the United States for energy production—for hydroelectric power generation, thermoelectric plant cooling, and countless other industrial processes, including oil and gas mining. And huge amounts of energy are required to pump, treat, heat, and deliver water. This interdependence of water and energy is the focus of a major new research effort at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)

ERG Professor Isha Ray: Health, Development and Poverty

ERG Professor Isha Ray discusses health, development and poverty in a panel discussion at the India under Modi Conference that was hosted on March 11-12, 2016.

WaterSeer Collider Winners Announced

 Teams in the the WaterSeer Collider were challenged to maximize the collection of clean water and develop a prototype utilizing Vici Labs’ patented WaterSeer technology which uses condensation from the air to create potable water. 

Researcher Uses Her Expertise to Help Women Grow Food in Zimbabwe

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory research scientist in the Lab’s Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Divsion, Naama Raz-Yaseef, applies her expertise in water-limited ecosystems to help women grow food in Zimbabwe. 

The search for smarter energy and water strategies

As the changing climate disrupts familiar weather patterns, many countries face a dual threat: swamping along the coasts, but also unexpected shrinking freshwater supplies in many regions.

“Water has never been evenly distributed around the world, but droughts and an alarming decrease in groundwater create potentially catastrophic conditions,” says Ashok Gadgil, Deputy for Science and Technology for the Energy Technologies Area at LBNL and professor of environmental engineering at UC Berkeley.

International Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Symposium

Twenty-one UC Berkeley students, faculty, and researchers presented at the Bay Area International Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Symposium held on April 15th at Stanford University. 

Brazilian Delegates Visit BWC

The Berkeley Water Center hosted 10 international emerging leaders selected by the U.S. Embassy in Brazil to travel to the U.S. for a professional exchange program April 4, as part of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program from March 31 – April 8, 2016 for a discussion on how the center successfully pursues studies in water and promotes water-related research. 

Barazesh Earns Top Teaching Award

Berkeley Water Center doctoral student James Barazesh  was selected as a recipient of Berkeley's Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award for 2015-16. 

Berkeley Goes to Beijing for World Water Day 2016

A delegation of researchers affiliated with the Berkeley Water Center was invited to participate in a day-long workshop in Beijing, China, for World Water Day (March 22). The Berkeley team included Professor Isha Ray (Energy and Resources Group), Professor Jack Colford (Public Health), Dr. Ayşe Ercumen (Public Health) and Alasdair Cohen (Environmental Science Policy and Management). 

Launch of paper by UC Berkeley authors at 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women

Isha Ray, Kara Nelson and Zachary Burt’s paper “Towards gender equality through sanitation access” was launched at the Emerging Issues in Gender and WASH during the 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2016. The paper is also being published in UN Women’s Discussion Paper Series with the support of the Governments of Singapore and Germany. 

BWC Contributes to Creating Solutions For California’s Water Challenges

Stemming from the Where We Agree Project, the University of California Berkeley Water Center, Pacific Institute, California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association, and UC Davis Extension have created a set of practical recommendations for policymakers, municipal water managers, businesses, and community groups.

Sally Thompson Receives CAREER Award

Congratulations to Professor Sally Thompson for being a recipient of the National Science Foundation's CAREER Award for 2016.

David Sedlak elected to National Academy of Engineering

Sedlak is the Plato Malozemoff Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley. He has been on the Berkeley faculty since 1994, and is a leading expert in water chemistry. He serves as co-director of the Berkeley Water Center, and director, Institute for Environmental Science and Engineering. Sedlak was elected to the NAE for his contributions to environmental aqueous chemistry, especially in the areas of water reuse, water contaminants, and urban water infrastructure.

Will Tarpeh, one of 28 Game Changers under 28

NBC named PhD student Will Tarpeh as one of 28 African American innovators — under age 28 — in its NBCBLK28.

NBCBLK is using the 28 days in the month of February to honor 28 of the nation's most talented innovators and game changers — all ages 28 years and younger.

From Large Scale to Small Scale

As large centralized wastewater treatment centers are taxed by long pipelines, energy costs and adding new customers, UC Berkeley researchers are looking to decentralize systems when they can and safely provide water in new ways. 

blueEnergy’s Water and Sanitation Technology for Nicaragua

The enormity of the world’s water and sanitation problems cannot be overstated. UN Water estimates that more than 3 million people die from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes each year, and nearly 10 percent of the global disease burden could be reduced through improved water supply, sanitation, hygiene, and water resource management.

How do we move past the yuck factor in potable water reuse?

Associate Director of the Wheeler Institute for Water Law and Policy at Berkeley Law Michael Kiparsky talks about making potable water palatable for people.

Celebrating World Toilet Day, reinventing sanitation

United Nations World Toilet Day is William Tarpeh’s main chance — a time to proselytize about all things sanitation. A doctoral student in environmental engineering at UC Berkeley, he tweets regularly about topics like toilets and international development. But on Thursday he plans to up the ante, with dozens of tweets on “sanitation, poop, urine and water.”

Fried to a Crisp: Why Some Experts Say We Must Burn the Trees to Save the Forests

The recent rains have blunted the psychological impact of California’s four-year drought, washing down the streets, perking up the landscaping, and heightening anticipation for a stormy El Nino-driven winter. We know, however, that one wet year is highly unlikely to end water shortages. What we may not fully grasp is that the damage done to the state’s forests is so far reaching that it may be permanent. How bad is it? Really, really bad. Horrendous, in fact. Sally Thompson, an assistant professor in UC Berkeley’s department of civil and environmental engineering, cites the status of the state’s iconic giant sequoias as an example.

Yoram Rubin Awarded Henry Darcy Medal

The European Geosciences Union honored Professor Rubin for his outstanding scientific contributions in water resources research.

Ashok Gadgil to Lead U.S.-China Energy and Water Consortium

The consortium will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy while mitigating climate change. Professors Sedlak and Horvath will lead 2 of the 5 topic areas.

Berkeley Lab Water Technology “Boomerangs” from Bangladesh to California

Ashok Gadgil's use of electrochemistry to remove arsenic in South Asian water is now being implemented in rural American water systems.

Ultra-low-cost solution to a big water problem

Katya Cherukumilli, an environmental engineering graduate student at UC Berkeley, won first place in the Designing Solutions for Poverty contest for her super-low-cost approach to groundwater purification in India.

Grad student helps people in Bangalore know when the next drop of water will come

UC Berkeley water graduate student Christopher Hyun spent his summer working on a research project examining how the people of Bangalore can get more reliable and timely information about when and how long they’ll get water each day. 

Sea Water to Drinking Water

Berkeley Water Center Co-Director David Sedlak talks about the practical use of, current systems using and new technologies involved in marine desalinization with Cal Alumni Association's California Magazine: Sea Quencher: Can California Assuage Its Drought Woes With the Pacific Ocean?

NSF award to CEE faculty to enhance infrastructure resilience

Professors Mark Stacey (PI), along with Samer Madanat, and Alexey Pozdnukhov (co-PIs), are investigators on one of several new projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to address the nation's critical need for more resilient infrastructure and enhanced services: "Multi-scale Infrastructure Interactions with Intermittent Disruptions: Coastal Flood Protection, Transportation and Governance Networks."