Mar 212012
Authors: Jordan Kurtz

Wednesday kicked off the 32nd Annual Hydrology Days at CSU, with the three-day event being headlined by the two-part Water Café series led by Brian Richter, the director of The Nature Conservancy’s Global Freshwater Team, Thursday night.

Thursday’s event will feature Richter’s lecture “Meeting the Global Challenges of Water Scarcity” and is set to begin at 5 p.m. in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom.

The Water Café series second event will be comprised of Richter and a panel of CSU participants discussing water sustainability issues in the 21st century as well as integration and research methods. Friday’s 10 a.m. panel discussion in the Cherokee Park Room of the Lory Student Center is intended for faculty, but is also open to the public.

Water Café is a direct interdisciplinary series that has been created to dissect precarious water matters, as well as CSU’s role in the process.

“The Water Café is a faculty-driven conversation about important water issues that CSU has expertise in or would like to build additional expertise in, in order to solve pressing water problems facing society,” said biology professor LeRoy Poff, Ph.D.

“The Nature Conservancy is a global leader in nature conservation,” Poff added. “Brian Richter is the primary leader in TNC on freshwater conservation and sustainability.”

Richter’s score of experience in science and conservation has allowed him the ability to lead a staff of hydrologists, aquatic ecologists, policy specialists and educators and communicators that support conservation efforts spanning the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. His work has also been implemented on more than 90 river projects across the globe.

Senior physics major Trey Butkovich said he was well aware of the need to improve water conservation and sustainability efforts.

“We have to,” Butkovich said. “There’s a finite supply of fresh water and an exploding population, so we better conserve.”

Some of Richter’s recent study topics have included the amount of water used and returned in urban versus rural areas, irrigation methods, water shortages, water footprints, biofuel, ecosystems, climate change and the future of water.

“Even with this distinction between water consumption and depletion, our study shows that it’s getting very difficult to meet water needs in more than half of the river basins in the world — potentially affecting some 2.7 billion people,” Richter said.

Richter also added that he believes improving agricultural methods is a critical step in improving water sustainability.

“We need to help farmers implement state-of-the-science irrigation methods and improve the productivity of rain-fed farms as soon as possible,” Richter said. ”We are going to have to produce more food with less water. If we can’t do that, we can’t add another 3 billion people to our planet.”

More information on CSU’s 32nd Annual Hydrology days can be found at

Collegian writer Jordan Kurtz can be reached at

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