World Water Day Symposium at U.Va. Features Expert Panels, Keynote Speaker

March 13, 2014

Water is essential for life and for food production, electricity generation and environmental sustainability, but access to water varies greatly across the globe – abundant in some places, scarce in others. Finding sufficient water for everyone will be a critical challenge this century as populations grow and a changing climate alters the water cycle.

To address some of these challenges, the University of Virginia will hold several events March 18, 21 and 22 to mark World Water Day.

U.Va.’s World Water Day Symposium will be held March 21 at its historic Rotunda and at its Department of Environmental Sciences. The event brings together faculty and water professionals from a range of disciplines to discuss water issues facing the nation and the world.

“Meeting the competing water needs of ecosystems and societies will be one of the key challenges of the 21st century, in a world with an ever-growing population, increasing per capita income and consumption, and changing climate,” said Paolo D’Odorico, Ernest H. Ern Professor of Environmental Sciences at U.Va. and a symposium organizer. “This event will be an important vehicle to bring together the academic community at U.Va. as well as water professionals and interested citizens in Charlottesville and the surrounding region.”

Jamie Pittock, a senior lecturer at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at Australian National University and former director of the Global Freshwater Program at the World Wildlife Fund, will give the keynote address, “Sustaining Water in an Era of Climate Change,” from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Rotunda’s Dome Room.

A panel discussion on “Water Markets: Challenges and Opportunities” will follow the keynote from 1:30 to 3 p.m. And from 3:30 to 5 p.m. a panel will discuss “Water and Health: A South African Case Study.” Both discussions will take place in Clark Hall, room 107. A reception will follow in the Mural Room at Clark Hall.

Panel participants include Dr. Rebecca Dillingham, director of U.Va.’s Center for Global Health; Dr. Richard Guerrant, Thomas H. Hunter Professor of International Medicine in U.Va.’s Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health; Ellen Hanak, senior fellow and director of research at the Public Policy Institute of California, where she holds the Thomas C. Sutton Chair in policy research; Carol Mershon, associate professor of politics at U.Va.; John Oldfield, CEO of WASH Advocates, a nonprofit, nonpartisan initiative dedicated to helping solve the global safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene challenge; Brian Richter, chief scientist of water markets for The Nature Conservancy; Vukor-Quarshie, head of the Department of Jurisprudence in the School of Law in Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, South Africa; Todd Votteler, executive manager of governmental relations and policy for the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority in Texas and executive director of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust; George Wallace, recently retired from Colorado State University’s College of Natural Resources and former director of the Center for Protected Area Management and Training.

The symposium is supported by the The Office of the Vice President for Research; the Center for Global Health; the Center for Global Inquiry and Innovation; the Department of Environmental Sciences; the Darden School of Business Institute for Business in Society; and the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life.

For information, click here.

On the same day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a World Water Day Expo on the plaza between Newcomb Hall and the U.Va. Bookstore, featuring organizations from the University and the surrounding areas focusing on water conservation, system innovation and management.

Other events and activities at the University include a March 18 lecture by Brian Richter, a lecturer at U.Va.’s School of Architecture and chief scientist of water markets for the Nature Conservancy, who will be speaking on “Chasing Water: Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability,” at Jefferson Hall, in Hotel C on the West Range at 3 p.m. For information, click here.

On March 22, there will be a stream cleanup at Schenks Greenway, near the recycling center and youth baseball field on McIntire Road in Charlottesville. Carpools will leave from the U.Va. Chapel at 10 a.m. Participants may sign up here.

Media Contact

Fariss Samarrai

University News Associate Office of University Communications