5200 N Lake Rd, Merced, CA 95343

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   This research analyzes the potential effects of climate change and land use dynamics on groundwater in highly productive agricultural regions dependent on water imports and groundwater regulation. Before focusing on the research topic, solving a series of conceptual, operational, and computational challenges, such as having reliable, integrable, and fast models, was necessary. For this reason, in the first part of the research, we evaluate the performance of three emulators of the sophisticated hydrological model known as the Fine Grid California Central Valley Groundwater-Surface Water Simulation Model (C2VSimFG) to estimate how climate and agriculture affect groundwater levels. Once the best emulator was identified, we assessed the hypothesis that groundwater levels in the Greater Kern County Region would exhibit a more rapid decline under projected climate change scenarios compared to a historical climate resembling 1995 and 2015. Finally, we focus on determining economically and environmentally optimal operational policies for the Shafter-Wasco irrigation district by considering the conjunctive water use approach and identifying the best policies through Bayesian Optimization Programming.

   Jorge Valero is a Ph.D. candidate in the Environmental Systems Graduate Group at UC Merced. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s in Hydrology and Water Resources Systems. A strong interest in the intersection of water, climate, and sustainability has driven his academic journey. In his doctoral research, Jorge actively explored the intricate interplay among climate change, agriculture, and groundwater dynamics, aiming to advance comprehension of environmental challenges and propose viable solutions.

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