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Texas Water Symposium on Water-Energy Nexus
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 • Posted January 19, 2011

Series continues at the Witte Museum in San Antonio on January 27

Austin, TX (January 12, 2011) – With a rapidly growing population, Texas needs a lot of water and a lot of energy. These resources are usually considered separately. The Texas Water Symposium goes deep into the complex issues of water and energy, and explains the critical interrelated aspects of these two essential resources.

Robert Potts, moderator for the symposium, says, "Most energy projects require lots of water, and every new water project is very energy intensive." Potts is the president of the Dixon Water Foundation, a private foundation that supports watershed management. He says the water-energy nexus is a very important issue for a dry state like Texas. "It would be terrible to build an energy project, and then find out there’s not enough water for the project, or to find out that a water project isn’t affordable because the energy costs too much."

Potts’ water conservation experience includes three years as general manager of the Edwards Aquifer Authority, a regional regulatory agency created by the Texas Legislature to manage, enhance and protect the Edwards Aquifer, the source of water for a half-million people and springs in the area. He says, "The Water Symposium is a great way for people to learn about the complexity of these issues, and become better informed and able to participate in them."

Panelists for this symposium include Les Shephard, director of The University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Conventional, Alternative and Renewable Energy (ICARE). Shephard is a nationally recognized expert who often speaks before the U.S. Congress on energy and water issues. Under Shephard’s direction, ICARE brings together representatives from industry, government and academia to explore alternative energy sources. The energy institute also explores new policies and best practices for the energy industry in the region, the state and internationally.

As one of the symposium panelists, Carey King, PhD, Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, brings his knowledge of energy systems to the discussion. King studies how energy systems work together and how they impact the environment. He also studies human consumption of energy resources. This systems level of analysis focuses on understanding how different technologies contribute to society economically and environmentally. One of King’s projects studies the energy-water nexus and how an energy transition impacts water resources.

Panel participant John Brocksch, managing partner, CEO, Aquifer Group, is a national operation and efficiency expert who focuses on restructuring, developing and positioning emerging companies for national market competition. The Aquifer Group develops sustainable, large-scale projects linking brush control, watershed management, aquifer recharge, biomass production and renewable energy. Brocksch has served since 1987 as chair and CEO of Midland Adams Group overseeing multiple investments. Previously, Brocksch served 20 years as chair and CEO of Guadalupe Industries, Inc., a private holding company with engineering, transportation and manufacturing operations in the western United States, Alaska and Canada.

The 2010-2011 Texas Water Symposium was created through the partnership of Schreiner University, Texas Tech University, Texas Public Radio and Hill Country Alliance. One of the leading organizers, Tom Arsuffi, is director of the Llano River Field Station and an aquatic ecologist. He has served as president of the Texas Academy of Science and program chair for regional and international scientific societies.

Arsuffi says the public tends to receive information about water as single topics such as the pollution of a river or groundwater rights. "People don’t recognize that this is a complex topic. In the future we will need an informed public to make decisions about water so critical for Texas."  Arsuffi says the Texas Water Symposium can enhance awareness and understanding of this complex, finite resource.

The 2010-2011 Texas Water Symposium Series provides perspectives from policy makers, scientists, water resource experts and regional leaders on how we will protect this resource and plan for a sustainable future.

The next Texas Water Symposium is co-hosted and sponsored by the Witte Museum, will be held Thursday, January 27, 2011 at the Witte Museum, Memorial Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas.

Join us as we explore the complexity and challenges of providing water for Texans in this century. Each session is free and open to the public. The hour-long program begins at 7:00 p.m., followed by discussion time with Q&A. The events are recorded and aired on Texas Public Radio one week later.

The annual Texas Water Symposium series, co-sponsored by Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas Tech University, Texas Public Radio and the Hill Country Alliance.

The final symposium for this series, River Watch Programs and Activities in the Hill Country:  How Local Communities Take Care of Their Rivers and Water, is scheduled for March 31, 2011, Schreiner University, Callioux Campus Activity Center, Kerrville Texas

Moderator – Andy Sansom (Texas Rivers Institute)

Panelists: Dianne Wassenich (San Marcos River), Robert Brischetto (Medina River), Tyson Broad (S. Llano Watershed Alliance)

For more information about the series, visit www.schreiner.edu/water.

The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to raise public awareness and build community support around the need to preserve the natural resources and heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country. Please visit the HCA website, www.hillcountryalliance.org, for more information about the latest news, events and initiatives, and how you can contribute to our activities.

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