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Water Symposium Emphasizes Conservation, Communication

Publication Date: 
April 19, 2012
Source: 
Ventura County Star
Author: 
Anne Kallas

Professor Barton H. Thompson discussed the amount of water per capita used by California in comparison to other places around the globe in his keynote speech at the 20th Annual Water Symposium put on by the Association of Water Agencies of Ventura County.

Providing water for a parched California has always been a challenge, and amid an increasing population, more regulations, rising prices and crumbling infrastructure, Ventura County water agencies met Thursday to discuss solutions.

The 20th annual water symposium put on by the Association of Water Agencies of Ventura County took place Thursday at the Courtyard by Marriott in Oxnard.

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Keynote speaker Barton H. "Buzz" Thompson Jr., a professor at Stanford Law School, started the conference Thursday with a quiz that asked such questions as how many gallons of water per capita a day are used in such countries as Spain (75) or Israel (84), compared with California (200). Thompson said those numbers hold promise because they show how much more water could be conserved here.

Thompson discussed possible scenarios in California, which he said could include the climate change, in which higher temperatures and rising sea levels upend the current water system as snowpacks decrease and seawater incursions make inland water unusable.

He said agencies and cities face problems with crumbling water infrastructure that will cost more to repair over time However, there will be fewer resources as people will continue to balk at paying higher taxes, fees and rates.

Ultimately, he said, the solutions lie in what he called "the era of sustainability," when technological innovation helps water to be reclaimed and recycled in an environmentally friendly manner.