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Henry Vaux, Jr.

Henry Vaux, Jr.

Discussing solutions to water problems

By Deane Morrison

Published on April 5, 2005

You may enjoy a cheap and plentiful supply of water in your home, but the nation and the world are running out. What to do about the situation is the subject of "Envisioning Solutions to the Nation's Water Problems," a free public lecture by Henry Vaux, Jr., at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in the Bell Museum Auditorium.

A retired professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Vaux chaired the National Research Council Committee on Assessment of Water Resources Research. The panel concluded that water problems are many and increasing in severity in all regions of the country.

In his address, Vaux will focus on five areas, underlining the urgent need for sound science to support actions:

One hindrance to getting good research to inform decisions is that water resources research is uncoordinated, says Vaux. "Often, such research is focused on short-term operation problems, or on issues that fall squarely in an agency's purview, leaving larger, pressing questions unresolved," he says.

At the Millennium Summit in 2000, world leaders set a goal of cutting in half the number of people in the world who lack a steady supply of clean water and a sanitation system by the year 2015. In order to meet that goal, a clean water supply must be delivered to 200,000 new people each day between now and then; for sanitation, the number is 400,000 people per day. Given that these problems are not high on the national agenda, Vaux sees little hope of reaching these goals or averting other problems. "I don't think we'll be able to forestall the crisis," he says.

Vaux's talk is the latest in the "Power of Water" lecture series, and is part of the President's 21st Century Interdisciplinary Conferences series.

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