Global water issues take spotlight in spring lecture series

February 26, 2010

Many believe water will be to the current century what oil was to the last one: the defining natural resource. Consider these numbers: More than a billion of the world's people have no access to clean drinking water. Two million die annually from unhealthy water conditions. And the United Nations predicts that two-thirds of the global population will face at least intermittent water shortages by 2025. Three U.S. experts will discuss pivotal water conservation and management issues in a series of free public lectures at UW-Madison this spring on the theme, "Balancing Global Water Demands for Food, Sanitation, Energy, and Ecosystems." The topics and speakers are: * "Healing the Enlightenment Rift: Rationality, Spirituality, and Shared Waters," Aaron Wolf, professor of geography and director of the Program in Water Conflict Management, Oregon State University; 4 p.m. March 25, Vandenburg Auditorium, Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St. * "Art, Science, Community, and Transdisciplinary Action: Making it Real," T. Allan Comp, program analyst, Office of Surface Mining, U.S. Geological Survey; 4 p.m. April 12, 1106 Mechanical Engineering Building, 1513 University Ave. * "Global Water Governance: Confronting Aridity, Climate Change, and Transboundary Conflict," Robert Varady, director of environmental programs, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona; 4 p.m. April 29, 1106 Mechanical Engineering Building, 1513 University Ave. The presentations, part of the Roy F. Weston Distinguished Global Sustainability Lecture Series, are sponsored by the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Weston, a university alumnus, founded Weston Solutions, Inc., an international environmental and redevelopment firm. For more information about the speakers and the series, visit or contact Mutlu Ozdogan, (608) 265-0873,