Hydrology students host World Water Forum

More than 55 graduate and undergraduate students from all academic disciplines at the University of Nevada, Reno presented their research on local, regional, national and international water issues at the 11th annual Student World Water Forum.

Joseph Sapin a graduate student in the Hydrologic Sciences program presents his work to a packed house.
Joseph Sapin a graduate student in the Hydrologic Sciences program presents his work to a packed house.

The forum, hosted by CABNR, is based on the international World Water Forum, which is held every three years in various locations around the world. The two-day forum took place as part of International Education Week this past November.

"The students spoke about water issues that occur all around the world," Erik Cadaret, a graduate student studying hydrogeology, said. "We have students talking about water issues in the Middle East, South America, Africa, Greenland and many situations within the United States. Some students even tackled political and religious issues that affect water."

The number of participants increased this year due to the addition of the International Water Issues for Development class at the University. Students in this class spend the semester learning about water issues by delving deep into subjects like hydrology, environmental issues, and water rights.

"This year, we had a wider range of students outside of hydrology students," Cadaret said. "We have environmental science, journalism, political science and a few students in the atmospheric sciences."

All participants presented to the public and local professionals from 15 different organizations such as the Desert Research Institute, Nevada Division of Water Resources and the Federal Water Master Office. These professionals gave the students feedback on their presentation skills, and provide students the opportunity to network.

"The forum simulates what a scientific conference would be like," Katherine Clancy, a graduate hydrology student, said. "For the undergraduates, it is the first time they may be presenting their work at a conference, and for the graduate students, the forum provides an opportunity to gain additional experience."

Cadaret and Clancey, along with four other graduate students, have taken the lead in organizing the conference and to spread word to the community under the guidance of Kate Berry, professor of geography, and Laurel Saito, director of the graduate program of hydrologic sciences. According to Cadaret, the Reno community has been supportive of the conference this year by donating raffle prizes for the event. The event was free and open to the public and the organizers were delighted with how many people from the community attended the conference.

The second day of the forum end with a keynote address presented by Dr. John Shurts from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, giving a talk titled "Rethinking the Columbia River Treaty: will we get the future right this time?"

“We were delighted to have Dr. Sturts,” said Saito. “He is one of the leading experts in Native American water rights and brought a wealth of information to the conference.”

Story by Annie Conway