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A Letter from the Dean

David Ackerly standing in a forest

Photo by Mathew Burciaga

When we started planning this water-themed issue of Breakthroughs last fall, we were focused primarily on the lack of this precious resource. California’s 2022 water year had been the fourth dry year in a row, after all. But then the early months of the year brought a series of atmospheric rivers that filled reservoirs, flooded roads, and piled up snow in the Sierra Nevada. It’s been a record-setting wet winter, offering at least temporary relief from the drought. It’s called weather whiplash, and we know it is likely to become our new normal.

The stories in these pages delve into this “drought and deluge,” as well as many of the myriad other topics relating to water and its issues, importance, and power. We learn from Rausser College experts researching the ways that climate change is affecting the water cycle, and what consequences may result for humans and ecosystems. We explore California policies that aim to create equitable, sustainable, groundwater resources for all. In discussion with two faculty experts, we learn how global inequities around water persist and how they could be dismantled. And we follow the already esteemed career of an alum influencing international water policy.

This is the final issue of Breakthroughs during my first term as Dean of Rausser College of Natural Resources. I am excited to share my priorities in our newly released strategic plan and to continue serving the College for a second term. See page our strategic plan webpage for details on our process and vision for the coming years.

I welcome your feedback at dackerly@berkeley.edu.

David D. Ackerly

Breakthroughs magazine is published twice per year by Rausser College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley. 



David D. Ackerly


Julie Gipple

Associate Editor

Mathew Burciaga

Creative Director

Arnaud Ghelfi

Copy Editor

Laura Deck

Contributing Writers

Ann Brody Guy
Mathew Burciaga
Julie Gipple
Kara Manke
Kristin Baird Rattini
Zac Unger 

Contributing Photographers

Alienor Baskevitch
Mathew Burciaga

Contributing Illustrator

Maripaz Franco

Design & Production

l’atelier starno

Online Director

Joseph Bunik

Online Production

Magaly Santos
Nina Tiêu

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