Ranging from harvesting rainwater in urban areas to tracking polluted groundwater in agricultural regions, the discussion at today’s annual meeting of the California State University’s Water Resources and Policies Initiatives (WRPI) flowed all over the map. It touched on avocados, dams, the Delta smelt, and, most often, the future.

With its pool of experts from throughout the CSU – with backgrounds in biology, hydrology, economics, statistics, engineering, and more – the WRPI focuses on research, training and new technologies and strategies to help California develop and maintain sustainable water resources for the 21st century.

(For more about WRPI, see this blog’s feature “Where Research Waters Flow.”)

At the WRPI meeting, held at the CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach, about 50 CSU faculty members gathered with representatives of key water agencies, advocacy groups, and other stakeholders.

As he welcomed the participants, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed noted that, in simple terms, WRPI was established in 2008 as a way “to help farmers and others with applied research and applied strategies.”

“We are reinvesting in targeted applied research,” Reed said. “It’s been proven time over time in the past three years that it has a huge payoff.”

He also marveled at how quickly WRPI faculty have connected with environmentalists, industry representatives, farmers, community leaders, and others.

“They trust you because your focus is on trying to help them. It’s on-the-ground, real work by real people addressing real environmental problems of today,” he said.

“Not only have you made that connection, but you have involved your students, many of whom will go on to join the state agencies” charged with managing California’s water resources.