The President’s Water Task Force will release its recommendations on Friday, May 8, on enhancing Fresno State’s position as a leader in water management policy and research.

Report findings will be announced at an event hosted by the Jordan College of Agricultural Science and Technology from noon-2 p.m. at the Jordan Research Center construction site on campus.

The event is a one-year follow-up to recommendations by the President’s Commission on the Future of Agriculture.

“Fresno State is uniquely positioned to help the Central Valley and state shape our evolving water management practices,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “Located in the heart of the nation’s richest agriculture area, our University has an opportunity to dramatically strengthen connections between and among our faculty, staff and students from disciplines such as agriculture, civil engineering, earth science and public policy to create a new, bolder vision of how to use water more wisely in the 21st century.”

A crowd of more than 200 of students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the agricultural community will hear from Castro, Sandra Witte, Jordan College interim dean, and other leaders.

Among the initial report’s recommendations was the creation of a water task force that combined the vision of area water policy managers, industry leaders and campus faculty and staff.

Friday’s program will also recognize other steps by the Jordan College to increase its connection with the agriculture industry, research and community.

A coordinator of internships and a communications specialist have been hired; seven Jordan College departments have established industry advisory boards; and the newly named Institute for Food and Agriculture will expand the reach of the former Center for Agricultural Business to better connect students and faculty with industry and research in all aspects of the ‘Farm-to-Fork’ approach.

The 19-member water task force was asked in October to help provide campus leaders with ideas on how to expand academic opportunities, ties to the water industry and public sector and boost applied research of innovative water-policy programs.

Recommendations in the report that will be released Friday include:

  • Establishment of a strategic long-term plan with the California Water Institute as the university’s front door to water topics and consolidating it with other university water-related organizations.
  • The creation of a new senior-level campus position to oversee campus water efforts.
  • Formation of a campus Executive Committee for Water and a Water Advisory Board comprised of regional leaders.
  • Creation of water-related academic curricula and a graduate program that connect various departments and colleges and provides training for students pursuing water-related positions.
  • Utilizing innovative companies housed in the campus Water and Energy Technology Incubator as a source of internships.
  • Exposing the campus to innovative, sustainable, and environmentally-sound water management practices.
  • Using the 1,000-acre university farm to showcase new technologies optimizing water and energy.
  • Aligning campus efforts with the state water action plan around water conservation, self-reliant management, preparation during dry periods, expanded water storage capacity, safe drinking water and secure wastewater systems.
  • Using faculty, staff, and students as ‘water ambassadors’ through public forums or programs.
  • Continuing to attract key water policy constituencies from across the nation to workshops, conferences and seminars.

“The diversity of voices on the task force provides a depth and breadth to the recommendations that will serve the university well,” said Dennis Nef, Vice Provost and task force co-chair.

A copy of the entire report will be available online at

The 19-member task force includes:

Chairperson Carol Chandler, Chandler Farms Partner; Vice Chairperson Dennis Nef, Fresno State vice provost; Chris Acree, Revive the San Joaquin director; Antonio Avalos, Fresno State Department of Economics chairperson; Penny Carlo, Carollo Engineers associate vice president; Sarge Green, Fresno State California Water Institute program director; Dr. Thomas Holyoke, Fresno State Department of Political Science associate professor; Dave Krietemeyer, USDA Natural Resources Conservation; Claude Laval, Lakos Separators chairman/founder; Marvin Meyers, Meyers Water Bank and Meyers Farming owner; Dr. Ram Nunna, Lyles College of Engineering dean; Aric Olson, Jain Irrigation president; Martin Querin, City of Vallejo assistant director of public works; Mario Santoyo, Friant Water Authority assistant general manager; Gary Serrato, Fresno Irrigation District general manager; Bill Smittcamp, Wawona Frozen Foods president/CEO; Dr. Beth Weinman, Fresno State Department of Earth and Environmental Science assistant professor; Dr. Bill Wright, Fresno State Department of Civil and Geomatics Engineering faculty coordinator; Dr. David Zoldoske, Center For Irrigation Technology director.

* Media wishing to attend the event and arrange interviews should contact Geoff Thurner at 559.278.7221 or