Spotlight Scholar

The Spotlight Scholar webpage highlights outstanding scholars whose work is making a difference for Earth and Sustainability. Their research is adaptative and wide-ranging, examining the most pressing societal challenges of our time. “Spotlight Scholars'' showcases the inspiring stories of our faculty. Learn about our scholars, innovative approaches, and discoveries.

Anita Milman

April 2021

Anita Milman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation. Milman examines the multi-level governance of water resources. Her work brings policy-makers, practitioners, and scholars into conversation to examine and address challenges in water governance arising from fragmented institutional structures and diverse socio-political contexts. Milman is also Chair of the International Water Resource Association’s Groundwater Task Force, which brings together experts and the public from around the world to disseminate knowledge and build awareness of groundwater.

Featured Project: Institutional Dimensions of Managed Aquifer Recharge

Water recharge basin in Southern California's Coachella Valley. (Source: California Department of Water Resources)

Anita Milman, along with Michael Kiparsky - Director of the Wheeler Water Institute within the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at the UC Berkeley School of Law - has produced a special collection of articles in University of California Press’ Case Studies in the Environment on managed aquifer recharge.

Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is the use of engineered or natural infrastructure to increase infiltration of water into the aquifer. In many areas of the world, unsustainable groundwater pumping has lowered groundwater levels, reducing the amount of water in storage. This groundwater depletion can lead to degradation of water quality, subsidence of the land surface, and impacts on connected rivers and streams. By augmenting flows of water into the aquifer, MAR can be used to increase the amount of groundwater in storage, retime surface water flows, and/or support of groundwater dependent ecosystems. 

Milman and Kiparsky’s examination of the examples from across the USA in which MAR has been successfully implemented highlights the institutional aspects of MAR. Their work identifies the legal, regulatory and administrative platforms necessary to enable development of MAR projects as well as how institutions can serve to incentivize MAR. Institutions have a vital role in guiding use and protection of water resources. The insights developed through this project can help to guide greater adoption and diffusion of MAR.

The special issue on managed aquifer recharge can be read here.  More information about the special collection can be found here and additional details on the research project can be found here.