climate adaptation science academy

Immersive Education

Our collective ability to adapt to a changing climate with uncertain water resources necessitates that we cultivate the next generation of climate and water leaders through immersion in scientific evidence. Secure Water Future, led by UC Merced, provides selected graduate students with an experiential summer training program developed to mentor students about how to contribute to transdisciplinary climate research and outreach initiatives. These students benefit from training in communication, computational science, and climate change adaptation planning. Through unique field learning experiences; hands-on training in climate-affected organizations; and the development of educational, outreach, and translational products, CASA graduate students affect short-term and long-term climate information and response across the Western United States.

This summer, CASA participants will receive training from academic experts and water leadership organizations like Kern Groundwater Banking Authority, Rosedale Rio Bravo Irrigation District and groundwater sustainability agencies, USDA Climate Hubs, Department of Water Resources, and leaders of AB 1755 California Open Water Data programs. These partnerships will result in useful tools for the organization while strengthening the overall quality and utility of the larger research enterprise. What students learn during their summer internships will be shared through written and oral presentations to the full Secure Water Future team so that all may gain experience through their relationships.

CASA Experience

Over several days in August, the selected students will travel by van and raft with their faculty and organizational mentors to experience first-hand the fabled semi-arid Western US and its water, agricultural, and natural resources infrastructure and processes for decision-making. This experiential trip includes meeting the people who affect and are affected by these management choices. CASA is based on successful educational models, including the UC Water Academy, and spans various components of the regional water management cycle:

  • Surface water: Headwaters and monitoring stations, reservoirs
  • Conveyance: Canals (Delta Mendota), subsidence
  • Groundwater: Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, Recharge Net Metering, and SGMA’s six deadly sins
  • Water quality issues: Community Water Center
  • Agricultural production in multiple cropping systems and specialty crops: from almonds to figs
  • Dairies and the full life cycle of food, energy, water nexus: biogas and solar
  • Food processing
  • Ecological/ecosystem values (Grasslands Reserve)
  • The future of the San Joaquin Valley: alternative land uses and multi-benefit land use.

Although California is the initial site of CASA, these same processes can be explored in other states.