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UCR Professor Heads UC Water Resources Center

UCR Professor, Agricultural Engineer Named Water Resources Center Director

Andrew Chang heads UC system’s center on water conservation and quality

(March 10, 2005)

Andrew Chang

Andrew Chang

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( Andrew Chang, UC Riverside professor and agricultural engineer, has been appointed director of the UC Center for Water Resources, University officials announced this week. Chang takes over from John Letey, who retired after 11 years at the center’s leadership position.

Chang, who previously served as the center’s associate director, is a nationally and internationally recognized research scientist in water quality management and water reuse, and has worked on some of the state's critical water-quality issues.

“He will bring a great deal of experience in developing and managing research programs to the operation of the center,” said Steve Angle, dean of the UC Riverside College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

Chang takes the center's reins as it sponsors two milestone conferences in 2005. On March 22, the 20th Salinity and Drainage Conference takes place in Sacramento. The annual conference is the public forum for the UC Salinity and Drainage Research Program, which the California legislature established 20 years ago to help scientists understand the nature of the Central Valley's agricultural drainage problem.

“Over the past 20 years, UC has funded many research projects on dealing with drainage issues,” Chang said. “The conference will highlight the research results of the last 20 years.”

The 25th Biennial Groundwater Conference, scheduled for Oct. 25 and 26 in Sacramento, marks its 50-year anniversary. The event's focus will be on the accomplishments of the past 50 years in groundwater management and what scientists are facing in the future.

Issues to be addressed include the uncertainties associated with global climate change and how that might affect California groundwater resources, and the impact of pollutants being found in groundwater.

“Fifty years ago, we considered groundwater to be pristine,” Chang said. “Now we are finding that many materials migrate into groundwater. The potential impact is not fully understood.”

The Riverside campus was recently chosen to host the center for a five-year period after proposals from UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Riverside were considered. Issues related to water quality, groundwater management, agricultural drainage and salinity are priorities at all three of the campuses and at UC Cooperative Extension offices throughout the state. The Center for Water Resources provides coordination and leadership.

The center houses several system-wide research and outreach programs, namely, the Water Resources Research Program, Salinity and Drainage Program, Regional Water Quality Program, and the Prosser Trust, a fund to promote efficient irrigation practices. It engages UC resources with other institutions to develop ecologically sound and economically efficient water management policies and programs in California, and it fulfills this mission by providing grants to stimulate and support water-related research and education. The center also collects historic and other documents related to water topics and makes them available to the public.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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