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UCLA and Natural History Museum explore drought in ‘Just Add Water’

By Alison Hewitt
Originally posted in UCLA Newsroom

With Californians looking for ways to adapt to what experts predict will be a years-long – perhaps decades-long – drought, water researchers from UCLA and elsewhere are helping the region understand the issues, history and possible solutions through a discussion series with the Natural History Museum.

The series, “Just Add Water,” is being presented by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES) and the magazine Boom: A Journal of California. The five weekly conversations at the museum run July 10–Aug. 7 and will be moderated by IoES professor and researcher Jon Christensen, who is also editor of Boom.

The discussions will include several other UCLA professors involved in the university’s Grand Challenge project Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles, which aims to move the Los Angeles region toward exclusive use of renewable energy and local water by 2050 while protecting biodiversity and enhancing quality of life. The researchers, who reflect UCLA’s broad expertise in drought, conservation, climate change and other water issues, will join policy makers, politicians, activists and others on panels.

Allison Carruth, an associate professor of environmental humanities with the Department of English and IoES, will join a panel discussing the Los Angeles River on July 17. Mark Gold, the IoES interim director and director of the institute’s Coastal Center, will focus on the battles that have made California’s water cleaner and safer on July 31. Alex Hall, a professor with IoES and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, will be on an Aug. 7 panel to discuss how to survive and thrive in a hotter L.A. and how to create a more livable, vibrant city while adapting to climate change and increasingly stressed water supplies.

“Water is a serious topic,” Christensen said. “And we’re bringing together experts from the university, the Natural History Museum, and other walks of life for these public conversations exploring everything from landscaping and gardening in the drought today, to the future of the city as we face climate change in the decades to come. But we also aim to have fun with very lively, smart participants from around L.A. in a beautiful setting on summer evenings by the nature garden at the museum.”

For a schedule, go to “Just Add Water.” You can also purchase tickets there for each discussion at $10 for non-members and $8 for members of the Natural History Museum. To purchase a ticket for the entire series at a discounted cost of $40 for non-members and $36 for members, call 213-763-3499. Attendees will receive a free copy of Boom’s commemorative issue on the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Learn more about UCLA’s water expertise through the university’s expert database.