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NMSU Community Water Conference Spotlights Conservation

ALBUQUERQUE - New Mexico's water leaders are bracing for more drought and looking for innovations in water management at this year's Community Water Conference Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at the Sheraton Old Town in Albuquerque.

Mary Ann Dickinson, executive director of the California Urban Water Conservation Council in Sacramento, Calif., will speak Sept. 1 at the 2004 Community Water Conference in Albuquerque. (06/25/2004) (Courtesy Photo from California Urban Water Conservation Council)

"It's shaping up as another dry year," said Craig Runyan, a water quality specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. "Water conservation is important to the future of the arid west. Many states have a naturally limited supply, and their current water resources are being increasingly impacted."

Sponsored by New Mexico State University's Rio Grande Basin Initiative and the New Mexico Water Conservation Alliance, the three-day program brings together some of the nation's top names in water management and conservation. Water managers, urban planners and researchers from throughout the region are expected to attend.

Presenters will give talks on strategic planning for water demand, drought management and water loss and leak detection. Other discussions will cover recycled water management, alternative water supplies and rebate programs for water users.

"This conference is one of the largest efforts of its kind, offering 30 expert presenters, more than five technical sessions, interactive exhibitors and many opportunities to learn how to implement water conservation management cost-effectively and scientifically," said Leeanne DeMouche, a specialist with NMSU Extension.

Registration begins Aug. 31 at 2 p.m. Presentations start daily at 8 a.m. Registration for the conference costs $100 before July 31 and $150 afterward.

On Sept. 1, participants will hear discussions on a range of water topics, beginning with a keynote address titled "Water conservation: It makes dollars and sense" by Mary Ann Dickinson, executive director of the California Urban Water Conservation Council, a nonprofit group of urban water supply agencies and environmental groups.

The following day, Doug Bennett, conservation manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Las Vegas, will present a keynote address on "When Mother Nature and human nature collide: Water efficiency and drought management in Las Vegas."

This year's conference will feature talks on pressing water issues facing New Mexico. NMSU plant physiologist Rolston St. Hilaire will present research on Las Cruces homeowners' landscape preferences and attitudes toward water conservation.

Santa Fe landscape architect Craig Campbell will speak about water harvesting and sustainable landscapes in New Mexico. Adrian Hanson with NMSU's civil, agricultural and geological engineering department will talk about safe graywater use in landscapes.

NMSU agricultural economist Brian Hurd will discuss Xeriscape adoption trends, while George Radnovich, president of the Xeriscape Council of New Mexico in Albuquerque, will review water management during drought.

Water conservation experts Alice Darilek and Cheri Vogel with the State Engineer's Office in Santa Fe will talk about urban water conservation. University of New Mexico water resource leader Bill Fleming will discuss planning for drought.

Bernhard Leinauer, Extension turfgrass specialist, will discuss the economics of turf subsurface irrigation. George Dickerson, Extension horticulture specialist, will present an evaluation of drip irrigation and mulch systems.

For more information, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting, please contact Leeann DeMouche at (505) 646-3973 or ldemouch@nmsu.edu before the event.