Office of Global Engagement

Global Water Partnerships

Section 1

Celyn Matienzo ’17, English

Dr. David Feldman, Chair of Planning, Policy & Design and Director of Water UCI is one of several staff members who are working with colleagues around the world to tackle the problem of water head-on. The allocation and conservation of water is not only a local problem, but one that needs to be addressed worldwide.

Dr. Feldman’s research is geared primarily towards the ways in which science and government intersect – how information, innovation and various studies are considered in the management and allocation of water. He believes that one of our key concerns in terms of water is its resilient management – ensuring that we are using water as efficiently as possible and looking toward alternatives to its continued availability through reuse, conservation, and sound community design.

Both California and the rest of the world need to prepare against future problems and shortages. Even if we cannot solve the problem that we’re facing now in light of California’s current drought, we can at least prepare ourselves and the environment for a future with an even worse set of circumstances. “We may not be hurting, but the environment is, due to our continued thirst in cities and farms.”

Working with global partners in an opportunistic fashion is a chance for scientists and policy makers to see other possible solutions and to figure out what practices can be applied locally. These collaborations are meant to allow for a practical exchange of information. Since the situation in every country and every region is different, the research and information that comes from different parts of the globe may not necessarily be tailored exactly to a local problem, but we can learn from one another’s experiences.

Our international partners can help show us what urban management and a good quality of life can look like with using less water while we exchange our progress in scientific research and innovation, as well as share lessons from a generally well-managed system of water management in California that is now struggling to meet demands. Partnerships in different parts of the world, for example, model different kinds of water management practices in action. By studying those present in other communities, researchers can determine what needs to be present in order for the type of project to be successful.

The urgency of the management of water supply and protection of its quality and the environment is one that necessitates global cooperation. The universality of the issue also allows for researchers and policy makers, to work together through productive engagement that might not be conducted through typical political pathways.