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Noted Water Expert Comes To Columbia College

What do agriculture, endangered species policies and housing developments have in common? They all depend on water, a resource that is growing increasingly scarce and precious as California grows.

As part of its yearlong examination of water issues, Columbia College is bringing noted water expert Dr. Jeff Loux to its campus on March 11 for a free public lecture and discussion on the growing importance of water on development and other policy areas. The presentation will run from 7 to 9 p.m. with a question and answer period, and will be held in the Cedar 1 lecture hall on the college campus.

“This leads into our two-day water forum on April 11 and 12,” said Doug Lau, Columbia College Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “It€™ll whet people€™s appetites.”

Dr. Loux, Director of the Land Use and Natural Resources Program at U.C. Davis Extension and water policy expert, said that the state€™s growing scarcity of water has led to new competition, new creativity and new cooperation in the area of water management.

“People have gotten a great deal more creative,” he said. “Even a decade ago, people would look for the traditional sources for new water resources, such as finding new reservoir sites or pumping more groundwater. Now they are looking at more creative ways.”

Desalination is one of those new ways. Once viewed as too expensive and too tricky to use on a wide scale, desalination is now being seriously studied by communities up and down the coast as a possible source of new water.

“We€™ve seen the whole notion of conservation change too,” Loux said. “People used to promote conservation as a good thing to do, but they now observe that it can be a valuable new source of water.”

Loux€™s lecture will focus on conflict, competition, conservation, conjunctive use, creativity and collaboration in California, and on how we€™ll provide water for the 13 million more people expected to live in the state by 2020.

“One can construct a pretty strong horror story as we grow to 47 million people,” he said. “Either it´s a horror story for farming — and farming could disappear from certain areas of the state — or it´s a horror story for urban areas in a drought. I think there are some big risks out there.”

The lecture is aimed at both the general public and policy makers to help them understand those risks, and begin making good decisions now to minimize them.