College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

With $1.6 million grant, new HydroWatch Center seeks full view of Earth's water cycle

January 23, 2006

Inez Fung, co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, and her research team have received $1.6 million from the W.M. Keck Foundation to establish the Keck HydroWatch Center at UC Berkeley.

Research undertaken at the HydroWatch Center will help scientists better understand the water cycle and predict its changes. Their aim is to dramatically expand the observations of all aspects of the water cycle by developing cost-effective, rapid-response, and accurate sensors and techniques to monitor water quality, quantity, and pathways.

The proposed center will also initiate a prototype deployment of intensive environmental monitoring networks, resulting in the acquisition, synthesis and analysis of the new, large volumes of data. The first deployments will take advantage of existing infrastructure and research programs at two sites of the UC Natural Reserve System, the Sagehen Creek Field Station and the Elder Creek Watershed within the Angelo Reserve. The Center will create "a new paradigm for long-term, whole-earth water observation and prediction."

Fung and her team are hopeful that the prototype created for environmental monitoring networks will be adopted as a national and international standard.

Based in Los Angeles, the W. M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. The Foundation's grant making is focused primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science and engineering. The Foundation also maintains a program to support undergraduate science and humanities education and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support in the areas of health care, civic and community services, education and the arts, with a special emphasis on children.

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