Faces of Water: Bram Sercu, PHD – Sept. 2019

  • by Bram Sercu, PHD
  • Sep 20, 2019
  • Newsletters

Bram Sercu, PhD, Hydrologist, United Water Conservation District

1. Describe your job.

I lead the district’s surface water hydrology monitoring program, and perform modeling, data analyses and reporting to assist with its water resources acquisition, planning and regulatory compliance. I also direct day-to-day diversion operations at our Freeman Diversion facility.

We are a relatively small district, so the job is pretty varied. I enjoy being able to spend time in the field, whether it be for operations or for doing stream flow measurements. The Santa Clara River is the largest river system in Southern California remaining in a relatively natural state, so I get to work in some beautiful and pristine settings at times. 

2. What do you like best about your job?

I am part of a great team of hydrologists and hydrogeologists who really are the local experts on surface and groundwater issues. We do most of the technical work in-house, supporting a variety of water supply, groundwater sustainability and environmental permitting efforts. 

3. How did you get into the water industry?

I was born and raised in Belgium, where I obtained a M.S. in bio-engineering, environmental technology, and a PhD in applied biological sciences. After graduating, my wife and I wanted to live and work abroad for a while.  I accepted a postdoctoral research position at University of California, Santa Barbara, researching fecal pollution in urban stormwater. That’s where I started to learn about water issues in California and the challenges related to water quality, as well as water scarcity. I went on to work on urban stormwater management for the Ventura County Watershed Protection District before starting my current job. 

4. What is something unique about yourself?

I started practicing Kung Fu a couple years ago. Kung Fu is probably not among the most popular martial arts in the U.S., but it appeals to me because it teaches a variety of hand and arm strikes, kicking techniques, and the use of traditional martial arts weapons. There are also many forms to learn, which can be quite complex. It really is an exercise for the body and the mind.  

5. What is your favorite food?

I love good food! I do seem to gravitate towards Mediterranean or certain Asian cuisines. But essentially, if it’s freshly made, with good, wholesome ingredients, I will eat it.

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