The Future of California Water

Date: Jan 16, 2019
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: , INTS 1113


"The Future of California Water" -- presented by UCR School of Public Policy and the UCR Library

Les Chau (BCES, Principal at Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc.) and

Wes Miliband (Juris Doctorate and Masters of Arts in Public Affairs and Politics, Partner at Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo)


Event Information:


Seminar Summary:

The future of California water lies with you, whether in your capacity as a professional within the water industry or as a user of water in your home and other personal endeavors. Our presentation is intended to explore complexities that arise from the interconnected dynamics of law, policy and science when addressing management of California water resources. With a brief primer about California water rights and supplies, we will dive into legal and regulatory frameworks that set the stage for factual and scientific investigations that ultimately serve to inform regulators and water users in an effort for compliance and dispute resolution. How to apply the legal and regulatory frameworks turns on the factual and scientific evaluations, such as whether the water supply source is surface water or ground water - or potentially interconnected - and where, when and how that water is used. As often seen in California’s epic water wars, public policy and the legislative process can be effective tools for improving law and regulations, and in turn avoiding long, costly and uncertain legal battles.



Les Chau is a Principal Scientist at Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc., part of a global engineering firm headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland. Les received a bachelor’s degree in geophysics from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in geology from University of California, Riverside. Les is currently the Principal Investigator in assessing the impacts of climate changes on the sustainable management of water resources in the Salinas Valley of CA. He is working with the U.S. Geological Society and reservoir engineers to model the reoperation of the reservoirs in managing flood control, downstream water supply, and the adaptive mitigation of the impacts of climate changes – the “new normal” of droughts and severe storm events. Les is active at the local and state levels on the compliance with the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act legislation (SGMA). He is also involved with the City and County of San Francisco and County of Monterey in public education of sustainable water project planning, resiliency planning, and adaptive management of various aspects of climate change impacts. Les Chau is passionate about addressing California’s water issues through public education and advancement in water technology.

Wes Miliband is a water resources lawyer driven by passion for the subject matter with a proven track record of success and creativity on behalf of private and public interests throughout California. Clients often seek Wes’s input about legislative and policy matters, in addition to his legal and regulatory expertise. With unique cross training as advisory, transactional and trial counsel, and having represented individuals and public and private entities, Wes provides clients with highly-sophisticated strategic approaches for effectively resolving challenging circumstances and disputes that result in environmental litigation. Wes focuses on securing and protecting water rights and water supplies including assistance with water transfers as well as the infrastructure necessary to treat, store and deliver water. His practice lends itself to related environmental issues involving water quality impacts to surface water and groundwater supplies, regulatory permitting, and environmental compliance with federal and state requirements. Prior to joining his current firm, Wes led the California water practice for a national law firm. He started his legal career as a Deputy District Attorney in Orange County. Prior to law school, Wes was on the staff for a Member of Congress.