Keynote Speakers Announced for 25th Annual California Water Policy Conference

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California's water czar and many other experts will gather to discuss the state’s most pressing water issues at the conference on April 20-21, 2016 at the UC Davis Conference Center in Davis, California.

As California endures a serious drought that the El Niño season has done little to alleviate, experts will gather to discuss the state’s most pressing water issues at the 25th annual California Water Policy Conference on April 20-21, 2016 at the UC Davis Conference Center in Davis, California.

The two-day event brings together leaders from the agricultural, urban and environmental communities to discuss policy issues impacting California’s water. This year’s theme is “Silver Anniversary, No Silver Bullet” reflecting the conference’s ongoing work in building bridges between agriculture, environmental and urban water interests regarding the difficult issues of managing the state’s water resources.

The four plenary session speakers are:

Felicia Marcus: California Rx: Bigger Vision for a Steeper Hill
Wed. Apr. 20, 9:15 – 10:00 a.m.
As chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, Felicia Marcus has the eagle’s eye view of California’s water controversies and the state’s efforts to meet the challenges of a prolonged drought. Regardless of El Niño, meeting water supply needs will remain at the forefront as we near the end of the rainy season. In addition, the State Board will grapple with permitting for the Governor’s twin tunnel plan through the Delta, water rights adjustments on the San Joaquin River, and tackling statewide groundwater regulation for the first time in California’s history. With lively humor and deep insight, Felicia will bring her perspectives on one of the most demanding roles in balancing the multitude of needs and interests in the water world.

David and Janet Carle: Travelling the 38th Parallel: A Water Line Around the World
Wed. Apr. 20, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Along the 38th parallel lies Mono Lake where David and Janet Carle served as park rangers, working to protect the Eastern Sierra inland sea from the effects of stream diversion to Los Angeles. After serving as rangers for 18 years, David and Janet embarked on an around-the-world journey in search of water-related environmental and cultural intersections along the 38th parallel. Traveling largely outside of cities, away from well-beaten tourist tracks, the authors cross Japan, Korea, China, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Greece, Sicily, Spain, Portugal, the Azores Islands and the United States. From their travels they co-wrote the book, Traveling the 38th Parallel: A Water Line Around the World, from which they’ll share stories. David will also bring us up to date on the re-release of his book Introduction to Water in California and the updated Water and the California Dream.

Glenda Humiston: A Million More Acre-Feet of Water
Thurs. Apr. 21, 8:30 – 9:15 a.m.
Thursday’s opening speaker, Glenda Humiston, has spent her career bridging agriculture and environmental issues. Humiston is the vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the University of California Office of the President. Prior to accepting this position, Humiston was appointed by President Obama as the California State Director for Rural Development with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Humiston has over 25 years of experience working on agriculture, natural resources, sustainability and economic development in rural communities. She’ll discuss how action teams from the California State Economic Summit are working with water agencies to encourage more comprehensive governance of the state’s fragmented water system. This includes local government connecting land use planning to water management and advancing the use of new local financing tools that allow more communities to pay for local water projects.

Dave Wegner: California Water Future: Converging Threats, Strategic Responses
Thurs. Apr. 21, 11:15 – 12:00 p.m.
Our closing speaker on Thurs. Apr. 21 brings decades of experience advising on water and climate issues within the U.S. House of Representatives and the federal government. Currently, Wegner works as a part-time senior scientist to ICF, continuing to provide input and strategic counsel to the National Academy of Sciences, several Members of Congress and international organizations focused on water and climate issues. His remarks will focus on how California is challenged to maintain a sustainable water supply for an increasing population and demands while climate change modifies the region's hydrology. Aging infrastructure, changing demand patterns, environmental needs, variable hydrology, and watershed dynamics are converging on multiple paths in California, and he is calling for a statewide strategy that focuses on strategically expanding the water portfolio coupled with and embracing aggressive water conservation, education, and improved efficiency.

The conference began as a vision by environmentalist Dorothy Green to bring different perspectives to the same table. Today, the annual event is an established forum drawing participants from around the state who share concern about the state’s water supply and want to find collaborative solutions.

Registration for both days of the conference includes continental breakfast each day, lunch on Wednesday and all conference materials. Special rates for students and non-profit organizations are available. Learn more at

Conference attendees will also be able to sign up for a bus tour and overview of new salmon recovery efforts in the Sacramento Valley after the conference closing session, organized by the conference staff and the Sacramento River Watershed Program.

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