How engineers see the water glass in California

Engineering a water glass at 50 percent. Source: xkcd.com

Engineering a water glass at 50 percent. Source: xkcd.com

By Jay R. Lund

Depending on your outlook, the proverbial glass of water is either half full or half empty. Not so for engineers in California.

Civil engineer: The glass is too big.

Flood control engineer: The glass should be 50 percent bigger.

Army Corps levee engineer: The glass should be 50 percent thicker.

Mexicali Valley water engineer: If your glass leaks, don’t fix it.

Delta levee engineer: Why is water rising on the outside of my glass?

Dutch levee engineer: The water should be kept in a pitcher.

Southern California water engineer: Can we get another pitcher?

Northern California water engineer: Who took half my water?

Consulting engineer: How much water would you like?

Delta environmental engineer: Don’t drink the water.

Water reuse engineer: Someone else drank from this glass.

Academic engineer: I don’t have a glass or any water, but I’ll tell you what to do with yours.

Jay Lund is the Ray B. Krone Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis, and director of the university’s Center for Watershed Sciences.

Further reading

Munroe, Randall. Glass Half Empty. xkcd.com

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