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Taking the Pulse of the Planet: Sensors to Solutions for Groundwater Science and Management in California’s San Joaquin Valley

The Stanford Graduate School of Business and Doerr School of Sustainability are pleased to host a conference on the subject of Taking the Pulse of the Planet: Sensors to Solutions for Groundwater Management in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

About the Sustainability Research Conference Series

The Stanford Initiative on Business and Environmental Sustainability Research Conference Series is hosted by Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.


June 2–3, 2023


Stanford University campus

Over the next five years, we will be hosting a series of annual conferences on the theme Taking the Pulse of the Planet. Through these conferences we wish to highlight and celebrate the powerful role that advancements in technology and advancements in data science are playing in addressing the global challenges in sustainability and climate change. The conference theme for this year is groundwater science and management. In order to focus the discussion, we are using California’s San Joaquin Valley as an example of a geographic area grappling with balancing the freshwater demand to support communities, agriculture, and ecosystems. We welcome as participants those working on this topic from perspectives ranging from policy and management through technology and data science, and also welcome those working on related topics elsewhere in the world. 

Recent advancements in sensor technology, with forms of deployment ranging from in-situ probes to satellite constellations, have dramatically expanded the potential to map, measure, monitor, and model groundwater systems around the world at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions. The combined use of these measurements has the potential to significantly advance both groundwater science and the emerging field of adaptive groundwater management by providing actionable and timely information.

In the San Joaquin Valley of California, the combination of climate change and population growth challenges our ability to sustainably manage groundwater resources to meet human needs without negatively impacting the natural environment. Groundwater demand already exceeds supply with alarming impacts on domestic supply, agriculture, ecosystems, and infrastructure (due to ground subsidence). Improvements to data availability and utilization are key, not only to better understanding of the current problems, but also to implement solutions.

This workshop will bring together people working in the Valley who have recognized the need for data, with those working — all over the world — on new forms of sensors (in wells, on taps, in soils, in streams, in geophysical surface/airborne/satellite systems, etc.), and on new forms of data analysis and management. Developing pathways from sensors to solutions can revolutionize the approach to groundwater science and management in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and throughout the world.


Friday, June 2, 2023: 12:30pm–7:30pm
Saturday, June 3, 2023: 8:30am–5:00pm

Full Conference Agenda

Stanford Initiative on Business & Environmental Sustainability: Podcast

Listen as professor William P. Barnett and Stanford student Ingrid Ackermann host a discussion with professor Rosemary Knight to discuss the takeaways from this conference.

Conference Organizers

Professor of Geophysics; Senior Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment; Professor of Earth System Science; Affiliate, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment