Dr. Glen MacDonald, Director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and an international expert on drought, delivered the opening keynote address at the Whole Water Conference, June 24-26 in Monterey, California.  The conference, hosted by the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association, and co-sponsored in part by California American Water, consisted of three daily tracks for attendees, dealing with Urban Water Management Plans, drought management and response, long-term financing, ecosystem restoration, integrated water resource planning, recycled water, conservation and advanced metering, desalination and groundwater management, among other topical issues.

MacDonald, known for his research on climatic and environmental changes and their impact on ecosystems and human populations, opened the conference with a speech titled, “Current Drought, Early 21st Century Drought, and California’s Water Future.”  He was followed by California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird, who brought the audience up to date on the Brown Administration’s multi-faceted drought management activities.

Paul R. Brown, co-author of Water Centric Sustainable Communities (2010), discussed lessons learned from a career in water planning, and he moderated a panel of water agency leaders discussing local approaches to sustainable water resources.  The panelists included Celeste Cantú, Executive Director of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority; Ane Deister, Vice President, Parsons Environmental and Infrastructure; and Dave Stoldt, General Manager of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District.

Frances Spivy-Weber, Vice-Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, delivered the luncheon address on June 24, emphasizing how the bureaucratic divisions in California between safe drinking water, clean water, surface water, groundwater and recycled water are diminishing, not only from a policy standpoint, but operational, as well. Sandy Lydon, Historian Emeritus, gave a highly entertaining luncheon address the second day titled, “High and Dry: how Monterey Got Stuck in History’s Spider Web.”

Approximately 200 water professionals from around the state attended this first-ever “Whole Water” conference, and they were treated to two special tours hosted by California American Water (CAW). One was an integrated water tour of CAW’s forthcoming Water Reuse – Aquifer Storage & Recovery – Desalination Projects for the Monterey Peninsula. The second tour was a trip to the San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River where attendees got to see the recently begun removal of the dam and the associated reroute of the Carmel River (See photographs accompanying this article). For the latter, to learn more about this remarkable project, visit www.sanclementedamremoval.org.

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