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Leading water expert to speak at Utah State

The Nature Conservancy’s chief water scientist will speak Wednesday at an event hosted by the Utah State University College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.

Brian Richter, who has more than 25 years of experience in water science and conservation, will speak on “Chasing Water in a Rapidly Changing World.”

Kelly Kopp, a professor and extension specialist at Utah State who helped arrange for the presentation, said Richter’s talk will focus on sustainable water use and solutions to dealing with scarce water sources.

Water conservation is an issue that is being addressed across the world. According to the National Ground Water Association, just over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is water. However, less than 1 percent of that is usable for human consumption.

“Unfortunately many of us take water for granted,” said Charles Holmgren, a board member of the Utah Board of Water Resources, representing the Bear River Basin. “We enjoy high quality and relatively low financial costs for our water.”

Water conservation is especially important for Utah residents to be aware of because, according to Brian Greene, a program coordinator with USU’s Water Quality Extension, Utah is the second driest state in the nation.

“We have a smaller amount of water coming from the sky than just about any other state, except for Nevada,” Greene said. “So it’s important that we conserve that water and use it wisely. That way we can have water for our agriculture, for our economies, for our wildlife and for our people.”

Greene said the water cycle is a set system and there are not new sources of water available.

“There’s a finite amount of water… There will come a point when there’s not enough water for all of our needs,” said Arthur Wallis, an intern with Utah State’s Water Quality Extension. “Conservation is important. It’s looking toward the future — planning now for the future.”

Richter will be speaking in the Agricultural Sciences Building in the Campbell Scientific Auditorium, room 101.

More information is available at extension.usu.edu/waterquality or water.utah.gov.

Nicole Cowdell, Madison McCann, Brenna Kelly, Haley Larsen and Stephen Baker contributed to this report.