“Pictorial History of the Aqueduct,” a historical sketch of the Los Angeles aqueduct published in 1913, is one of the documents contained in the Water Resources Collections and Archives.
September 29, 2014

Head librarians from both campuses articulate policies to jointly manage valuable collection of historical documents.

By Bettye Miller

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Cal State San Bernardino and the University of California, Riverside will co-house and share a valuable collection of water related-documents and materials.

The chief librarians from both universities, Cesar Caballero, dean of the CSUSB John M. Pfau Library, and Steven Mandeville-Gamble, University Librarian for UC Riverside, signed a memorandum of understanding on Sept. 24 that the two institutions will jointly house and manage the Water Resources Collections and Archives (WRCA).

The agreement, which was signed at the Pfau Library, lays out the policies and procedures on the collection and is an addendum to an MOU the universities signed in 2010, which enabled the collaboration, Caballero said.

The WRCA, which previously was housed at UC Berkeley, is a one-of-a-kind resource. It contains historical and contemporary water-related materials of great value to water agencies, governmental bodies, environmental groups, engineering firms, attorneys, historians and researchers.

The collection will be of great interest to students, faculty and researchers from both campuses and also researchers throughout both the University of California and the California State University systems, Caballero said.

“This is a world-class collection and will offer a lifetime of learning as a resource. It is extremely valuable,” Caballero said.

The WRCA collection will be divided between both libraries and jointly managed by Mandeville-Gamble and Caballero. The joint management of the archives will expand accessibility both in the state and nationwide, Caballero said.

“The agreement underlines the importance of the WRCA, which will complement and strengthen other collections at CSUSB and UCR along with the UC and CSU systems,” Caballero said.

Mandeville-Gamble said the agreement took on even more significance because of the state’s ongoing drought, which is unprecedented in the state’s written history.

He said the two universities are committed to studying issues affecting water in all aspects including environmental, public policy and social issues.

“It’s absolutely essential if we’re going to solve water issues. We’re in this together,” said Mandeville-Gamble, who added that the collection “will serve as a roadmap for greater collaboration between the two universities regarding water issues.”

The co-housing of the collection will work well with both universities as both institutions have strong backgrounds in water resources. UCR has a number of water policy experts in the School of Public Policy. CSUSB is home to the Water Resources Institute, which serves as a regional center for research and public policy analysis and houses the Joseph Andrew Rowe Water Resources Archives.

photo of dam

This photo of the junction of the All American Canal and the Coachella Canal was taken by Walter Leroy Huber and is part of a collection of the engineer’s correspondence, documents and photographs in the Water Resources Collections and Archives.

The WRCA collection is comprised of approximately 4,138 linear feet of published circulating materials, and more than 3,000 linear feet of special collections and archives.   Approximately 5,545 linear feet of printed circulating materials are also housed in off-site storage facility near the UC Berkeley campus.

The original archive contained approximately 200 archival collections, 200,000 technical reports, 1,500 specialized newsletters, 5,000 maps and videos, 2,200 serials, 25,000 land photographs, 45,000 aerial photographs of coastlines, and digital resources in the form of CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, and websites.

Since 2011, the archive has gained another 2,500 books, electronic documents, and thousands of hard-to-find publications such as conference proceedings, association publications, technical reports and bulletins, and meeting minutes that deal with water resources in California and the West.

More than 15,000 people visit the WRCA website every year, and another 80,000 visit the California Water Districts & Associations list. UCR librarians scan more than 6,000 pages of material from the collection for researchers and government employees across the state.

The collaboration of the two universities came about in 2010 when the statewide Water Resources Center was to be closed because of budget cuts. The University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Center sought a new location to house the archives, which led CSUSB and UCR to develop an innovative and collaborative plan for joint management of the collection.

The acquisition of the new collection also coincided with the California State University system-wide Water Resources and Policy Initiative, which is centered at Cal State San Bernardino. The WRPI facilitates water-related research capabilities within the 23 CSU campuses.

Water policy experts in the UCR School of Public Policy conduct research on critical issues related to the interactions between water policy, water quality and water scarcity. They also contribute policy-relevant input to dialogues at the local, regional, national and international levels.

Founded in 1999, the Water Resources Institute of Cal State San Bernardino is an academic partnership with the Southern California communities that it serves. The institute is driven by the vision that sustaining water resources rests on sound research, analysis and public policy collaboration. The institute is active in the areas of science, public policy and history, and serves as a regional hub for providing information on water resources.