An annual Colorado Mesa University water forum is taking place Wednesday and Thursday, this year in a virtual format that isn’t hurting registration at all, its organizer says.
Hannah Holm, director of the Ruth Powell Hutchins Water Center at CMU, said about 200 people had registered as of midday Monday for the 10th annual Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum, at least as many as usually attend in person.
Holm said she made the decision in the spring to make the forum an online one, and she’s been glad she went that route.
“I’m really happy with how it came together,” she said.
The forum is open to the public. Its theme is “Coming to Terms with Limits and Uncertainty,” which could apply to the ongoing pandemic but, in this case, pertains to concerns about high demand and limited supply when it comes to Colorado River water at a time of continuing drought.
“It’s a pretty multifaceted look at how as a Colorado River Basin community we are looking at adapting to a future that looks drier than the past has been,” Holm said.
Sessions kicking things off Wednesday morning will consist of panels of state and tribal leaders from the Upper and Lower basins, talking in part about the upcoming renegotiations of the guidelines for managing Lake Powell and Lake Mead, which provide water to Lower Basin states and are both far below full levels.
Other sessions will focus on issues such as potential economic and agricultural impacts of managing water demand, changes in sediment transport as the river changes, and tools for modeling river hydrology.
The event’s keynote speaker is Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, who will discuss Navajo Nation water access challenges at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The event begins at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and includes two full days of presentations.
A full-access pass costs $50 and a $4.67 fee, and people also can register for individual events for $10 and a $2.24 fee.
The event is free for students and others in the CMU community, as well as for event presenters and media.
More information on the forum and registering for it can be found at www.coloradomesa.edu/water-center/forum/index.html.
The forum will be conducted over Zoom.