Environmental and Water Management Leaders Meet to Examine the Future of Earth's Water Supply

Article excerpt

Leading environmental and water management experts convened Sept. 3 in Tempe, Ariz. to examine initiatives and strategies toward greater sustainability and preservation of Earth's water supply as part of Rain Bird's ninth "Intelligent Use of Water" summit. Held at Arizona State University's (ASU) Global Institute of Sustainability, in partnership with Rain Bird Corporation, the two-hour symposium provided an opportunity for thought leaders to engage in an open-forum discussion about global water-management programs, policies, initiatives, trends and strategies relating to water availability issues in the American southwest and beyond.

Addressing the significant challenges facing citizens, corporations and countries in finding a balanced solution to current and future water scarcity issues, the two-hour forum was moderated by John D'Anna, senior editor for The Arizona Republic, and featured a panel made up of experts in water management, policy, infrastructure and sustainability.

Each panelist stressed the need for civic and business leaders to collaborate on the development and implementation of water conservation policies, and the importance of implementing policies, legislation and programs aimed at modifying public behavior.

"Perception of water use is quite different from the facts," said panelist Doug Bennett, water conservation manager, Southern Nevada Water Authority. "This has to be a collaborative effort among the public and private sector."

The panel also addressed the challenge of meeting the water needs of a growing society, an issue that is of foremost importance for ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability, said Charles Redman, director of the School of Sustainability.

"Rapid urbanization and a diminished water supply has made central Arizona the 'canary in the coal mine' when it comes to water-scarcity issues," said Redman. "It is an issue that is fraught with complexity, and the solution needs to be one that properly balances the limited usable fresh water supply with the needs of a growing society."

"Clearly, we need to implement policies that will guide the future growth of society in relation to the available water supply," said panelist Jim Holway, professor of practice in civil and environmental engineering at ASU's School of Sustainability. …