Our History


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.


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.


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.

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.