Feb 082012
Authors: Andrew Carrera

As energy and water issues become increasingly intertwined and internationally important, CSU finds itself well positioned to lead discussions on the subject.

“People who follow the news know that energy is a critical issue, but they might not connect the dots on the importance of water in generating energy or how energy use can impact water resources,” said Neil Grigg, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the university.

Those who do, however, involve prominent faculty, staff and organizations on campus.

The CSU Water Center and School of Global Environmental Sustainability is examining the implications of energy production on water and the university’s role in them today in the form of a six-person panel discussion called a “Water Café.” Two engineers, one geologist, one resource economist and former Gov. Bill Ritter make up the interdisciplinary group scheduled to speak at the Lory Student Center Senate Chambers from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

The meeting is the first in a four-part series that goes through April. While today’s gathering focuses on how energy and water intersect, future discussions will create water management strategies as they relate to the Poudre River, sustainability and food shortages.

And CSU, housing an array of professionals, appears poised to make waves in the fields of study.

The CSU Water Center serves as a focal point to coordinate, leverage and enhance water-related research. And its School of Global Environmental Sustainability is the first of its kind in the state of Colorado.

Ritter, working with university officials, established a national policy center at CSU focused on the “new energy economy” in January last year. He now heads the organization.

The university’s combination of scientific and political knowledge when it comes to energy and water issues is beneficial in discussions, Grigg said.

“The problem requires a lot of good thinking and has two sides,” he said. “A government side and a technical side.”

But the Fort Collins community isn’t the only area concerned with the subject.

The United Nations declared 2012 a year when it would focus on issues of sustainability. In 2013, the international body promises to address water cooperation.

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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