UD to co-host 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference

Gerald "Jerry" Kauffman from the Institute for Public Administration, works with how climate change effects the water supplyThe Delaware Water Resources Center (DWRC) at the University of Delaware will be one of several National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) that will co-host the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference.

The conference will take place Sept. 24-25 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Tom Sims, director of DWRC and deputy dean of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said of the center and the conference, “The Delaware Water Resources Center has been committed for more than 40 years to the core missions of the Water Resources Research Act: training future water resource scientists and professionals, contemporary research on water resource issues of high importance to Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region, and outreach and education programs on water resources science, management, and policy. The DWRC is pleased to support this regional conference.” The theme of the conference is “The Future of Mid-Atlantic Water Infrastructure: Challenges and Solutions,” and it will combine exceptional educational programs with opportunities for researchers, policy makers, regulators, agencies and the public to share in the latest information, technologies and research relating to the region’s water resources. Gerald J. Kauffman, director of UD’s Water Resources Agency, which is a unit of the Institute for Public Administration within the School of Public Policy and Administration, will give the keynote address at the conference focused on the value of water resources in the Mid-Atlantic, specifically the Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware River Basin. Kauffman explained that because of those two major basins, the water resources in the region provide incredible ecological value. “The combined basins provide drinking water to over 10 percent of the entire United States and occupy about 1 percent of the entire landmass of the continental United States, so these watersheds in the Mid-Atlantic are really valuable to the nation and the region and the nearby cities,” he said. The cities in question — New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. — rely on the watersheds for their drinking water. Furthermore, Kauffman explained that the watersheds provide additional ecological resources in the form of blue crab and reviving oyster populations. The Chesapeake “is the center of a trillion dollar recreation, tourism and agricultural based economy, but the Delaware River has really nice ecosystems, as well,” said Kauffman, who has completed economic studies of both basins. Kauffman said UD is particularly well positioned to study and talk about the issues surrounding the watersheds because the University is in the middle of the Delaware river and bay and the Chesapeake. “Where we are here in Newark, we’re about a dozen miles to the Delaware River and if we go west, we can get to the Chesapeake Bay. So if you’re studying this issue of water science and policy, there’s going to be a lot to talk about,” said Kauffman. “We’re uniquely poised to talk about and conduct research in the value of these water systems, so UD is a special place where students and the faculty and the staff can get involved in doing this kind of work,” he said. “I’ll be excited to talk about that at the Mid-Atlantic conference in September.” For more information about the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference, visit the website. The registration deadline is Aug. 30. About the Delaware Water Resources Center As a member of the National Institutes for Water Resources, the Delaware Water Resources Center has two key missions related to Delaware’s water resources, such as the state’s ground water aquifers and its streams, ponds, lakes and coastal waters. The first is to support research, education, and public outreach programs that focus on water supply, water management, and water quality — issues of considerable importance to Delaware citizens who are concerned about the future of our water resources. DWRC is specifically charged with the exploration of new ideas that address water problems or expand understanding of water-related phenomena. The second mission is to foster and support training and education programs for the future water scientists, engineers, managers and policy-makers who will lead the water resources research, planning and management efforts in the state in the future. About the Water Resources Agency The mission of the Water Resources Agency is to provide water science and policy assistance to governments in Delaware, the Delaware Valley, and along the Atlantic seaboard through the land grant public service, education and research role of the University of Delaware. The WRA is a unit of the Institute for Public Administration within the School of Public Policy and Administration in UD’s College of Arts and Sciences. Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson Article by Adam Thomas This story can also be viewed on UDaily.