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TPWD News Release — Oct. 17, 2005

Water Flows Conference Set for Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in San Marcos

SAN MARCOS, Texas — Scientists, policy makers, water managers and interested citizens will gather at Texas State University here Oct. 31-Nov. 2 to discuss how to ensure adequate environmental flows for Texas rivers and streams and freshwater inflows into bays and estuaries along the Texas coast.

The university’s River Systems Institute will convene Flows for the Future: 2005 Environmental Flows Conference on the university campus.

Scientists connected with the conference say Texas freshwater resources have been over allocated and will continue to be appropriated to meet the growing demands of water needs in Texas. With the diversion of these freshwater resources over the next decade, scientists say the loss in adequate freshwater flows will compromise the integrity of Texas springs, rivers, coastal bays, and estuaries.

A variety of efforts have been carried out by many organizations to find a balance in meeting Texas water needs and protecting these systems through study programs, legislative proposals, permit applications, and water resource planning. However, scientists say the state still lacks a framework for determining flow needs, planning applications for meeting future water needs and ensuring adequate flows to Texas rivers, bays, and estuaries.

“Water is the most critical natural resource issue facing Texas in the next generation and the most important environmental issue will be maintaining environmental flows down our streams and into our bays and estuaries,” said Andrew Sansom, River Systems Institute executive director.

As part of the Institute’s water conference series, this conference will integrate scientific research and technology, management strategies, and policy development to address the need for frameworks of cooperation, knowledge and technology transfer, and management and policy to address environmental flow issues.

“Providing enough clean water flowing in our rivers and down to our coastal bays is a huge conservation challenge that affects every single Texan,” said Robert L. Cook, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. “State leaders carefully considered several options to protect river instream flows and bay inflows in the recent legislative session, but exactly how Texas can best do this remains an open question, so this conference is important and timely.”

The conference agenda consists of three days of plenary sessions, panel discussion, and continuing education courses and is designed to meet the interests of the water resources community, policy makers, water resource managers, government officials, stakeholders, and interest groups. Plenary talks will be presented by leaders in the fields of water science and policy and will include representatives from the Texas state legislature. Co-sponsorship and agenda development have been provided through collaborative efforts of a number of governmental and non-profit agencies and education and research institutions including Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, and the San Antonio River Authority.

Texas State University established the International Institute for Sustainable Water Resources in January 2002 as a leadership initiative for university-wide efforts in the field of aquatic resource management. In 2005, the IISWR was renamed the River Systems Institute, reflecting a sharpened emphasis on the primary importance of river systems in the hydrologic cycle.

For more information about the conference, contact the River Systems Institute at (512) 245-9200. A complete agenda and registration information are on the institute Web site.


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