CAMPUS NEWS, LOCAL NEWS, NEWS, TOP STORIES — January 30, 2014 11:03 am

U OF M PROFESSOR, AUTHOR TO DISCUSS WATER SUSTAINABILITY

by Ryan BerndtDeborah Swackhamer, director of U of MN Water Resources Center, posing along Mississippi River.

Dr. Deborah L. Swackhamer, faculty member and co-director of the Water Resources Center at the University of Minnesota, will lead a lecture on Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium, entitled “Water Sustainability: Planning for Future Generations.

 

Dr. Swackhamer is the lead author of the “Minnesota Water Sustainability: Planning for Future Generations.”

 

Swackhamer led the framework with the help of state legislature appropriating $750,000 to the University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center back in spring of 2009.

 

At 400 pages, the document evaluates Minnesota’s water usage in terms of what it’s used for, how it’s used, as well as mentioning good practices the state should follow when it comes to protecting and treating water. The framework provides a 25-year plan to protect, conserve, and enhance the quantity and quality of the state’s groundwater and surface water.

 

If it wasn’t for The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Act, an amendment passed back in fall 2008, money wouldn’t have been able to be allocated towards the project. An estimated 85 million dollars per year will be spent on protecting and preserving Minnesota’s surface and ground water. The goal of the act is to help maintain and grow “world-class parks and trails that connect everyone to the outdoors.”

 

With a 3/8 percent increase in state sales tax that will fund the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Act until 2034, the state is actively searching for projects to fund. During the 2013 Legislative Session, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) received requests that amounted to $51,138,047 in requested funds from possible projects.

 

Swackhamer is considered an expert on the subject of environmental health sciences, having received a BA in Chemistry from Grinnell College, IA and holds a MS in Water Chemistry and a PhD in Limnology & Oceanography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 

Not only is she a member of the Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission of the US and Canada, Swackhamer holds other various positions in national committees and recently finished a four-year term as Chair of the Science Advisory Board of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

 

As the population grows and demands for natural resources increase, water availability will need to be addressed. Although Minnesota may be known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” once those are dried up what do we have left?

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