Cutting-edge research is coming to Yuba County, thanks to a new partnership formed by Yuba Water Agency, the City of Wheatland and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Banatao Institute (CITRIS).
A memorandum of understanding signed today by the three entities outlines plans for mutually beneficial research that will connect technological solutions to local and regional issues, build more resilient communities and protect Yuba County’s natural resources. Specific areas of interest include reducing catastrophic wildfire and flood risk, energy and natural resource management, critical infrastructure resilience and more.
“CITRIS has been developing sustainable energy technologies for decades and we’re excited to explore how our work can address local and regional challenges here in Yuba County and, in turn, how local needs can shape our research,” said Costas Spanos, director of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute.
One research project that the three signatories are already exploring is the use of sensors in levees to monitor pressure during storms and high-water events. The same technologies could also be used in roads to monitor traffic and improve evacuation routes in the future.
“Using innovative research and technologies to keep an eye on critical infrastructure like levees and roads is a big deal, especially during high water and flood events,” said Gary Bradford, Yuba Water’s chair of the board. “This kind of work is directly connected to the health of our communities and our capacity for economic development.”
This partnership is expected to lead to new growth opportunities, especially for the City of Wheatland, where AKT Investments has designated land for a future research center.
“As the City of Wheatland approaches its 150th anniversary next year, we are very proud of our past and excited about our future,” said Wheatland Mayor Rick West. “The partnership announced today is a significant first milestone in building the future we are envisioning.”
The group has also been working closely with officials from the nearby Beale Air Force Base, who have expressed interest in joining the partnership in the future and potentially using space in the planned research center.
Yuba Water will support a master planning process for the new research facility, with an update expected in the coming year.