Water Issues Forum

The 2009 Kansas Water Issues Forum will take a proactive look this December at climate change and water -- in terms of planning for the future.

The program will examine the related economic impacts for cities, industry and agriculture, as well as climate´s potential effects on state water resources, said Tracy Streeter, Kansas Water Office director.

With slight modifications, the forum will repeat its program this year in Wichita and Hays. At both sites, it will begin with coffee and rolls at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 3:30 p.m.

The Wichita forum will be Wednesday, Dec. 9, at the Sedgwick County Extension Center (7001 West 21st St. North). The Hays forum is Thursday, Dec. 10, at the Kansas State University Agriculture Research Center (1232 240th Ave.).

The $10 registration fee for either location is due Nov. 25, to help defray the cost of lunch, breaks and forum materials. Registrations after that date will be $15, on a space-available basis. A "Hot Topics" link to the registration form, site-specific program brochures, and online profiles of session leaders is on the Web at www.kwo.org.

Streeter said a few sessions will differ at each location, targeting the Wichita forum to urban issues and the Hays meeting to agricultural questions. In Wichita, for example, K-State landscape architect and city planner Eric Bernard will assess climate change´s potential impacts on grounds, park and landscape management. In Hays, K-State economist Bill Golden will discuss impacts on the agricultural economy.

Otherwise, both morning sessions will include:

* Climate Change and Kansas: What Do the Models Indicate? - Johannes Feddema, University of Kansas geologist and climate scientist.

* International and Domestic Adaptation to Climate Change - Jim French, Oxfam America´s agriculture advocacy leader.

* Implications of Climate Change on Energy - Nancy Jackson, The Land Institute, Climate and Energy Project leader.

* Food Security: Growing Yield Sustainability - Chandler Mazour, manager of Monsanto´s first Water Utilization Center (Gothenburg, Neb.).

Participants will begin their afternoon by choosing among three concurrent "town hall" discussions. In Wichita, two of their discussion options will address planning for change in municipalities and for climate change as it relates to flooding. In Hays, those topics will shift to "Bumper Crops or Busted Yields?" and to carbon capture and storage. The third "town hall" at both sites will consider long-term climate cycles.

Streeter suspects the highlight of the day, however, may be the final afternoon session on the long-range outlook for Kansas´ climate and water resources. The discussion leaders will represent wide-ranging viewpoints and include scientists, a policy maker and an energy industry representative --

1) Ed Martinko, state biologist and director of the Kansas Biological Survey;

2) Chuck Rice, K-State soil microbiologist who served on the U.N. climate change panel that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Price;

3) Tracy Streeter, director of Kansas´ water planning and coordination agency and previously director of the State Conservation Commission; and

4) Bill Eastman, director of environmental services for Westar Energy.

Co-hosts for the third annual Kansas Water Issues Forum are the Kansas Water Office, the state´s 12 river-basin advisory committees, and Kansas State University Research and Extension - KCARE (Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment).

TAGS: Management
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