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The Future of Water in Southern California

Educators, non-profit professionals, legislative representatives, engineers, consultants, scientists, concerned citizens, and students gathered at the UCLA School of Law on May 24, 2011 to participate in an examination of the Metropolitan Water District's (MWD) Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC) report.

The MWD of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 19 million people in six counties. The organization's mission is to provide its service area with adequate and reliable supplies of high-quality water to meet present and future needs in an environmentally and economically responsible way.

Commissioned by the MWD Board of the Directors, the BRC report outlines proposed models, strategies, and approaches for the coming half-century of water challenges. With input from more than 20 of Southern California’s corporate, community, and academic leaders the report's recommendations and strategies covered the development of new water options for Southern California, energy for the future, economic development and new technologies, financial stability, workforce, and external and internal communications functions.

robert simondsRobert Simonds, BRC Chair and former MWD Director, was the keynote speaker.  The panelists included: Yoram Cohen, BRC Member, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Director, Water Technology Research Center; J.R. DeShazo, Committee Consultant, Associate Professor of Public Policy, and Director, Luskin Center for Innovation, and Robert Lempert, Committee Consultant, RAND Corporation, and Director, Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition.

Glen MacDonald, an international authority on the environmental effects of drought and Director of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, presided over the discussion.

Simonds delivered the keynote address, outlining the BRC formation and process. To view his presentation click here.

Cohen discussed water technology and sustainability in Southern California. To view his presentation click here.

Lempert explained how BRC identified challenges, offered a new vision for the future, and revealed near-term steps toward that future. To view his presentation click here.

Lastly, DeShazo addressed questions about MWD's current business model. To view his presentation click here.

wrg discussion

The symposium concluded with an open question and answer session—giving the audience an opportunity to interact with the panelists.

This conference was a joint presentation of UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Law School Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment, Law School Evan Frankel Environmental Law and Policy Program, Water Technology Research Center, Luskin Center for Innovation in the Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.