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Debra Perrone, PhD

Researching water scarcity challenges facing society.
​Integrating water quality, quantity, and policy sciences.

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Debra Perrone is an Associate Professor of UCSB’s Environmental Studies Program. Deb integrates research methods from engineering, physical science, and law to inform water sustainability and policy; she uses a wide-spectrum of outlets to disseminate her research, including peer-reviewed journals, policy briefs, and interactive-online dashboards.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of California, Debra was a postdoctoral research scholar at Stanford University (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Woods Institute for the Environment (Water in the West)). She received her PhD in Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University in 2014 and was awarded first honors as the Graduate School’s Founder’s Medalist. Debra has been recognized by numerous early career awards, including the Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award from the American Geophysical Union (2022) and a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (2023).


Debra is a co-author of a textbook for undergraduate students that focuses on the challenges and opportunities surrounding our global water resources by providing a foundation in water science and policy.


Debra Perrone is a first-generation college attendee. 

Black Water


Stakeholder Integration Predicts Better Outcomes from Groundwater Sustainability Policy

ABSTRACT: Natural resources policies that promote sustainable management are critical for protecting diverse stakeholders against depletion. Although integrating diverse stakeholders into these policies has been theorized to improve pro- tection, empirical evidence is lacking. Here, we evaluate 108 Sustainability Plans under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act to quantify how well stakeholders are integrated into plans and protected from ground- water depletion. We find that the majority of Sustainability Plans do not inte- grate or protect the majority of their stakeholders. Nevertheless, our results show that when stakeholders are more integrated into a Sustainability Plan, they are more likely to be protected, particularly for those that lack formal access to decision-making processes. Our findings provide strong empirical evidence that integrating diverse stakeholders into sustainability planning is beneficial for stakeholders who are vulnerable to the impacts of natural resource depletion.

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