McGeorge School of Law

California Water Allocation Proves A Popular Subject

March 3, 2010

Water Forum Crowd

Water Forum Crowd

More than 250 people crowded into the lecture hall on February 22, 2010, to participate in a California water forum that featured political, economic, scientific and legal experts discussing the controversial issue of state water allocation.

The half-day conference, "After the Legislative Water Package: Where Are We, and Where Do We Go from Here?", attracted a wide range of divergent views. One of the only things that most panelists agreed on was that the water bond was packed with pork and is not a final solution to many long-term problems. There was also agreement on the need for more science to inform future decisions about water in general and the Delta in particular.

Adjunct professor Bill Jeffery moderated the conference with the assistance of Professor Rachael Salcido, who presided over a legal issues panel that included Scott Slater, '84, and Stuart Somach, '79, two of the leading water law attorneys in the state. "Our goal," said Jeffery, "was to provide a neutral place for people with differing views to discuss the subject, and in that we succeeded. Everyone left their spears at the door."

Legislation panelists included Assemblyman Bill Berryhill, State Senator Lois Wolk, Kathy Cole, legislative representative for the Metropolitan Water District, and Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. Dr. David Sunding, a professor of economics and water policy from UC Berkeley, and Dr. Jeffrey Michael, the director of Pacific's Business Forecasting Center, addressed the issue of water and jobs.

The research panel included Ryan Broddrick, former director of the Department of Fish and Game, Rich Breuer of the Department of Water Resources, Jonas Minton of the Planning and Conservation League, and USGS hydrologist Steven Phillips. Somach and Slater were joined by Dante Nomellini, counsel and general manager for the Central Delta Water Agency, on the legal issues panel.

The forum was co-sponsored by University of the Pacific's School of Engineering and Computer Science Natural Resources Institute, the Eberhardt School of Business - Business Forecasting Center, and McGeorge. Margit Aramburu, director of the Natural Resources Institute, was the lead organizer of the event.