Dr. Debra Perrone — Groundwater Depletion: The Haves and Have Nots of Water

Debra Perrone image


Location: Interactive Pavillion (ILP) 1203


Talk Description:

Groundwater is often referred to as an invisible resource, hidden beneath our feet. Groundwater wells—the infrastructure used to access groundwater—are small, distributed, and lost among landscapes. By contrast, our surface water infrastructure is large and visible—reservoirs that support water supply and recreation, dams, and hydroelectric facilities. In this talk, Perrone reveals the results of a five-year research project to record the location and construction details of millions of groundwater wells. The research provides vital insights into the haves and have nots of water and identifies strategies to minimize the impacts of groundwater depletion.

Speaker Bio:

Debra Perrone is an Associate Professor of UCSB’s Environmental Studies Program. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of California, Debra was a postdoctoral research scholar at Stanford University with a dual appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Woods Institute for the Environment (Water in the West). She received her PhD in Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University in 2014 and was awarded first honors as the Graduate School’s Founder’s Medalist. Debra has been recognized by numerous early career awards, including the Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award from the American Geophysical Union (2022) and a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (2023). Deb integrates research methods from engineering, physical science, and law to inform water sustainability and policy; she uses a wide-spectrum of outlets to disseminate her research, including peer-reviewed journals, policy briefs, and interactive-online dashboards. Debra is a co-author of a textbook for undergraduate students that focuses on the challenges and opportunities surrounding our global water resources by providing a foundation in water science and policy.

GRIT Talks:

"Ground-breaking Research/Innovative Technology," or GRIT Talks, is a UC Santa Barbara lecture series featuring a lineup of esteemed faculty. These 28 minute talks, followed by a 30 minute Q&A session, provide an insider look at innovative research happening at the university.