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Bren School Gives Lecture Series on Current Drought Situation

Faculty members from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management along with Goleta Water District officials will present the first lecture of a three-part series about California’s current drought conditions and its implications for water resources, titled “California’s Water Resources and Our Drought,” tonight in Bren Hall.

The series, titled “Water (we going to do)?”, will touch on regional water infrastructure, current water supply levels and water conservation methods. The second lecture in the series will discuss local supply levels and conservation efforts, while the third lecture will assess drought conditions in the summer.

According to Water Supply and Conservation Manager at Goleta Water District Kirsten McLaughlin, after the Goleta Water District declared a Stage 1 drought this past March, the Goleta Water District — in accordance with statements by Santa Barbara County and Governor Jerry Brown — requested a voluntary 20 percent water usage reduction from consumers in the Goleta Valley area, including Isla Vista and UCSB.

Environmental studies professor Bob Wilkinson, who will discuss California’s water distribution in light of the current state of drought, said management of water resources by state agencies should be grounded in sustainable practices.

“Sustainable water management will require innovation, a respect for limits and an appreciation of opportunities we have to do more with less,” Wilkinson said. “We need to rethink water management options in the context of the environment, economy and society.”

McLaughlin, along with Refuse, Recycling and Water Efficiency Manager for the facilities management Matthew O’Carroll, will also speak about California water distribution in light of the current drought.

According to O’Carroll,who is also a part of the recently established Water Action Plan, which aims to reduce water usage on campus, students and Santa Barbara community members should be informed on water conservation methods in order to enact them during the high temperatures to come this summer.

“It is crucial that we first understand different ways to conserve water. Then, we must take action,” O’Carroll said. “If we are not conscious of our water usage, we could be in deep trouble, especially with these hot summer months ahead.”

McLaughlin agreed and also said the lecture series will discuss the most important facets in which water usage should be curbed, detailing ways in which individuals can begin to reduce their daily water use.

“Since 50 percent or more of residential water is used outdoors on landscaping, the easiest way to save is to reduce water use outside,” McLaughlin said in an email. “Reducing sprinkler time and watering once a week, using mulch and planting water wise landscaping are easy ways to reduce outdoor water use.”

Tonight’s lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in Bren Hall Room 1414. The entire series is open to the public and is free of charge.

 

This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.

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