Kassidy Heckmann at the State Water Resources Control Board

Environmental Policy & Management student Kassidy

I landed my internship at the State Water Resources Control Board with the Division of Water Rights (DWR). Coming from the East Coast where water is plentiful, California water law has always fascinated me. I even wrote my senior capstone report on California water recycling! Upon entering the EPM program, I took Keith Casto's ENV 202. A crash course in all environmental policy, water rights were only briefly discussed. I was left wanting more! Luckily, in April 2019, DWR hired me as an intern of the Sacramento Valley Enforcement Unit. 

In my short time here, I can say this: California Water Rights are highly complex. In fact, my main task at first was just to familiarize myself with them. I reviewed legal files, databases, web content and more...just to wrap my head around the applicability of each water right to the entire California water policy landscape. Soon, I was able to move on to enforcement actions. These included site inspections at hydropower facilities, water right compliance investigations, public outreach, and tons of data analysis. Though I hope to steer my career towards climate policy, I have no doubt that the information learned through this internship will assist me with my future endeavors. As water availability continues to remain uncertain, water rights will be even more valuable for future integrated environmental management.