5/22/07

Contact: Brian Keeter, (334) 844-4650 (bkeeter@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)

SOLVING WATER RESOURCE PROBLEMS FOCUS OF AUBURN UNIVERSITY CONFERENCE

AUBURN - Scientists, industry leaders and government officials will gather in Auburn June 14 and 15 to seek solutions to growing problems with the availability, quality, protection and utilization of the nation’s water supply.

The Auburn University conference, “Bridging the Gap Between Science, People and Policies,” will examine the impact of water resources upon individual health, food production, homeland security, economic growth and recreation. It will also serve as a catalyst for developing a model water distribution system and a comprehensive water management policy for local and state governments.

“There are no alternatives for a safe, adequate water supply,” said AU President Ed Richardson. “Auburn experts are providing the leadership and research needed to turn water quality and quantity challenges into economic, environmental and health benefits for the people of Alabama and the Southeast.”

Water consumption has outpaced global population growth during the past two decades. In Alabama, water consumption has increased 150 percent since 1956. If current trends continue, up to two-thirds of the world’s population will face serious water shortages by 2025, according to Graeme Lockaby, associate dean in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and director of AU’s new Water Resources Center.

Many parts of Alabama routinely suffer the consequences of short-term summer droughts. The Auburn conference will look at how more effective water management and distribution systems would alleviate the negative impact these droughts have on crops, livestock, tourism and industry.

The Auburn conference features nationally recognized experts on water policy, irrigation, watershed issues, conservation and other water issues. Speakers include Peter Jutro, deputy director for science and policy at the Environmental Protection Agency, and Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project.

“The conference will kick-start planning, collaboration and research for solving problems with salt water intrusion, contamination, weather, low water tables and an almost non-existent water distribution system,” said Lockaby.

Conference information is available by contacting the AU Water Resources Center at 334-844-6147 or online at http://www.nrmdi.auburn.edu/water/conference/2007.

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Auburn University is a top-50 ranked public university that has provided instruction, research and outreach to benefit the state and nation for more than 150 years. A more than $4 billion economic impact on the state - including more than $2.4 billion in providing jobs and people resources - demonstrates AU’s commitment to this mission. AU has more than 214,000 alumni, and provides 130 degree options to nearly 23,500 graduate and undergraduate students.

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