The Burly Men of UCCHM Raise Water Awareness, by Stephanie Castle

No shaving until after Halloween. UCCHM men stop shaving in October to raise awareness of water scarcity. October 1, 2012. L-R Jay Famiglietti, Kurt Solander, John Horn, AJ Purdy, Brian Thomas, Eric McWilliams, JT Reager

Water conservation in Southern California has become a heightened issue among water users over the past decade.  In the midst of a drought starting in 2005, University of California Center for Hydrologic Modeling (UCCHM) water researchers have relentlessly tried to share important research findings with policy makers and the public to expose the dire need for water use awareness.  In our desperation, some of the men at UCCHM have decided to do something never done before to get our point across: STOP SHAVING.

What’s that on your face? After 2 weeks without shaving. Saving water AND looking good. Personnel as above, plus Collin Lawrence and Hrishi Chandanpurkar. October 15, 2012

This feat not only melts the hearts of women throughout our center’s suite, but also points out that there are many everyday steps men and women can take to reduce individual water footprints.  Although shaving may not take up as much water as, say, watering one’s lawn, it will bring awareness to people that leave the faucet running while brushing their teeth or let the shower run for several minutes to get the water hot.  People everywhere will be reminding themselves to think of the beard, and turn off the faucet.

A pretty hairy situation. Three weeks without shaving. Think of the gallons of water saved. October 22, 2012.

During the month of October, these burly boys have vetoed the constant upkeep of being clean shaven and instead let their beards grow in order to bring forth the important message that most Southern Californians overuse water.  Our research necessitates a concerted effort to reduce our water footprints and we hope to spread the word.  We will see you next October 2013, to join our mission for a more sustainable water future for Southern California.

We made it! Thanks my bearded brothers for helping raise awareness about water scarcity. (L-R) Jay Famiglietti, Kurt Solander, John Horn, AJ Purdy, Brian Thomas, Eric McWilliams, JT Reager, Collin Lawrence, Hrishi Chandanpurkar. November 2, 2012.

We’re already making plans for 2013…see you next fall for Oktobeardfest!

About Jay Famiglietti

Jay Famiglietti is a Professor of Earth System Science of and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, and the Senior Water Scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. He and his research team use satellites and develop computer models to track changing freshwater availability and groundwater depletion around the world. Famiglietti is an active speaker, a frequent advisor to national and international government officials on water issues, and a regular contributor the National Geographic Water Currents and to the Huffington Post blogs.


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Design professional Richard Vijgen's rendering of GRACE and USGS groundwater depletion data displayed on Times Square beginning on World Water Day, March 22, 2012.

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