Water is the basis of life and human society. It flows across countless industries and impacts every household. In California, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, water management remains a significant challenge as the region must overcome challenges related to climate change, population growth and the increased demand on finite water resources. The California Water Institute focuses on all aspects of sustainable water resource management solutions through outreach, entrepreneurship, education, testing, and interdisciplinary research.
Through hands-on learning and research opportunities fostered by the Institute, students are prepared to enter the workforce as well-trained graduates. At the same time, water stakeholders are an important resource to help CWI and Fresno State develop the next generation of professionals through our partnerships. CWI’s collaborative and comprehensive approach to water management solutions is a prime example of what we can accomplish when the University and the community work together to address and solve current and future water issues. Together, we can shape the future of sustainable water resource management and successfully overcome the challenges that lie ahead.
CWI provides all stakeholders with convenient access to Fresno State’s extensive water research and development programs and services. The institute positions Fresno State as a leader in water research and sustainability by engaging the campus community and academic experts from all disciplines to address the most challenging water issues of our time.
The California Water Institute has three divisions: the Center for Irrigation Technology; the Research and Education Division; and the Water, Energy and Technology Center.
MARCH 2000: Voters approved Proposition 13, a $2 billion water bond measure. Three-million dollars of start-up funds for the California Water Institute were included in a portion of the bond co-authored by then State Senator Jim Costa of Fresno and then State Assembly Member Mike Machado of Linden.
OCTOBER 2000: Representatives of government, public organizations, and private industry – all with a vested interest in water use for agriculture, urban needs and the environment – created a shared vision and mission for the future of the California Water Institute that includes the following scope of activities:
- To carry out concise, comprehensive studies that will provide the direction for better future uses and conservation of the State’s waters.
- To promote practices that will enhance and preserve the State’s water resources and their quality.
- To serve as a center for research, education, planning, policy evaluation, and information transfer.
- To communicate the results of its research and studies with the residents of California.
- To collaborate with agencies and institutions in California to seek a positive resolution to the State’s complex water problems.
- Present workshops and symposia.
- Maintain a collection of pertinent information.
- Provide objective, third-party review of water issues.
2015: Fresno State President Castro created the Water Task Force to provide recommendations about CWI leadership and direction, which recommended, among other actions, Fresno State create an Associate Vice-President position to organize everything water at the Fresno State campus using the California Water Institute staff and resources.
2021: the California Water Institute is directed by AVP Charles Hillyer, who ensures that the organization remains true to its original charge but also grows as a one-stop-shop for water research, education, and services at Fresno State.
Biographies about the California Water Institute’s staff can be viewed here.