Water Resources Management 2011
6th International Conference on Sustainable Water Resources Management
23 - 25 May 2011
Riverside, California, USA
The sixth International Conference on Sustainable Water Resources has recently taken place in Riverside, California, organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT), chaired by Professor Carlos A Brebbia and Viktor Popov of the same institution. Previous conferences had taken place in Halkidiki, Greece (2001); Las Palmas, Gran Canaria (2003); The Algarve, Portugal (2005); Kos, Greece (2007) and Malta (2009).
The conference provided a platform for participants involved in water resource management to exchange knowledge and gain an insight into the state of the art in the current technology, techniques and solutions in sustainable water management, as they have been developed and applied in different countries. Participants included a wide variety of stakeholders from research and academia, the industrial sector as well as governmental organisations.
The growth of human population combined with the irregularity in precipitation and water availability may restrict further the access to water in certain regions of the world. This problem is made more severe by anthropogenic activities that affect its quality.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the scientists, experts and practitioners to exchange their knowledge and experiences. Only by comparison of the performance of current technologies and practices can the best platforms be selected as the basis for future improved strategies. The goal of sustainable water resources management is not static, it changes as the conditions in the world alter due to, for instance, the growing population and climate change. Therefore developments in the field must respond with the same agility. New ways of thinking are required in order to successfully predict future trends and prepare adequate sustainable solutions.
Opening Address by Professor Carlos Brebbia
The meeting was opened by Carlos A Brebbia who explained the objectives of the work carried out at the Wessex Institute of Technology and how the institution conference programme fits within this context. WIT – Professor Brebbia said – sees itself as providing a mechanism for knowledge transfer and this is accomplished through a series of initiatives, of which the conference programme is an essential part.
WIT collaborates with many institutions around the world through a series of research projects, some of those supported by the EU, a substantial number of publications including monographs other than conference proceedings and a number of international Journals. The overall aim is to promote interdisciplinary activities and partner with different institutions all around the world.
Professor Brebbia described the facilities at the WIT campus in the New Forest National Park, an area of outstanding beauty. The facilities are – Professor Brebbia said - constantly being improved in order to increase the quality of Wessex Institute campus, rather than seeking to attract more researchers.
The co-chairman of the meeting, Professor Viktor Popov, then addressed the meeting, welcoming the delegates to the sixth conference in this series and wishing them a successful conference.
Keynote Address by Professor Paulo Canelas de Castro
The conference sessions opened with the Keynote Speech given by Professor Paulo Canelas de Castro, from the University of Macau, where he is Professor of Law, holding the prestigious Jean Monnet chair. He is co-ordinator of the Masters in eLaw, International Law and cooperative law. His talk was entitled ‘Climate Change and Water Management, is EU Law adapted to climate change?’. Professor Canelas de Castro explained how EU water law has been changing to match the challenges from climate change.
Climate change in combination with inadequate European water resources – Professor Canelas de Castro explained – will impact the water cycle in Europe with potentially disastrous effects. Against this background, there is an urgent need to revise the management of water resources and to develop strategies for adaptation to the changes. Professor Canelas de Castro addressed the question of whether EU water laws and policy are ready to face the challenge set by climate change, whether the Water Framework Directive responses are good enough , and what can be done for adapting water resources management to climate change impact.
Generally speaking – Professor Canelas de Castro explained – successful adaptation strategies should be under the framework of the Water Framework Directive, along with its associated directives, based on the approach of integrated water resources management supplemented by measures in water-related sections, and complemented by new typologies and screening tools, greater control and quality of information as well as clearer relationships with other relevant legal documents for climate change regulation.
Looking ahead, Professor Canelas de Castro concluded, we need;
- Stronger integrated and strategic planning to promote a better approach to European water resources problems.
- A coordinated contribution from water related sectors in particular agriculture, electricity, navigation and tourism.
Another interesting paper on legal issues was that of Professor Sarah Meyland from New York Institute of Technology. Professor Meyland is the Director of the Centre for Water Resources Management at NYIT and her paper looked at the idea of safe yield for aquifer and its flows. She proposed a new approach to stop depleting the aquifer- the idea of managed yield, based on the idea that it is important to regulate the water supply rather than dealing with ownership issues.
There were other invited presentations which helped to enhance the meeting;
‘Integrated watershed management: Methodology and practices’
by T. Tanaka, University of Tsukuba, Japan
‘A source of conflict? Distribution of water rights in Abanico Punata, Bolivia’
by S. Speelman, Ghent University, Belgium
‘Modelling the hydraulic link between the Prespa and Ohrid Lakes’
by V. Popov, Wessex Institute of Technology, UK
‘Using maximum entropy to develop explicit formulae for friction factor calculation in pipe flow’
by V. Diniz, State University of Campinas, Brazil
‘Pumping regime influence on groundwater quality in the proximity of a polluted lake’
by A. Marinov, University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania
‘Preliminary results of landslide characteristics due to rainfall in the city of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico using physical modelling’
by J. Soares-Lopez, University Autonoma de Baja-California, Mexico
‘Phosphorus removal from greywater in an experimental hybrid compact filter system’
by K. Kasak, Tartu University, Estonia
The presentations during the conference were grouped under a series of topics;
- Water management and planning
- River basin management
- Urban water management
- Hydrological modelling
- Hydraulic engineering
- Water quality
- Pollution control
- Irrigation issues
- Sharing our water resources
- Flood risk
- Wastewater treatment and management
- Wastewater treatment and reuse
- Water resources and economics
- The right to water
Special Session on 'Incentives, Policies and Perception'
A special session was organised by Professor Henning Bjornlund of the University of Lethbridge, Canada, and the University of South Australia in Adelaide, on the topic of ‘Incentives, Policies and Perceptions’.
The session consisted of four papers;
‘New wine in old bottles: a brief history of the use of economic incentives in natural resources management’
by Viveke Bjornlund, University of Lethbridge, Canada
‘Water reallocation policies: public perceptions’
by Henning Bjornlund, University of Lethbridge, Canada and the University of South Australia, Australia
‘Factor analysis identifying key values held by South Australian and Victorian irrigators in a time of severe drought’
by Chelsea Lane-Miller, University of South Australia, Australia
‘Analysing the drivers of irrigator drought strategies in the Southern Murray Darling Basin’
by A Zuo, University of South Australia, Australia
The Mission Inn Hotel
The conference took place in the Mission Inn Hotel, a landmark in the middle of historic Riverside. The hotel, which occupies a whole block, is one of the most celebrated buildings in California.
The hotel started as a two-storey hotel in 1876 and in 1902, Frank Miller, its founder expanded the original building during a period of 30 years. The design reflects European heritage as well as the character of the renown Californian missions. The overall effect is an eclectic mixture of different styles and structural shapes. There are numerous sculptures, paintings and bas-reliefs distributed around the building which is now a National Historic Landmark.
The hotel has attracted many distinguished visitors including eleven US presidents. It was the setting for the marriage of Richard and Pat Nixon as well as the honeymoon of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
The setting was conducive to strengthening the links amongst the participants and was the right place for a number of social events such as the conference lunches which took place on the beautiful Spanish Patio.
International Scientific Advisory Committee
The International Scientific Advisory Committee of the conference met over dinner to discuss reconvening the conference in 2013. Several suggestions were made to improve the conference and add new topics of current interest. New names were proposed of those colleagues who could be invited to join the committee. The discussion then focused on the appropriate location for the 2013 conference, which will be forwarded to the conference division personnel at Ashurst Lodge to investigate further.
The conference banquet consisted of a selection of Mexican dishes prepared in the Californian way, accompanied by excellent regional wines. The highlight of the evening was a Mariachi ensemble whose members played popular pieces as well as some Mexican songs requested by the audience (they were even able to master a tango that Carlos with more good will than skill managed to dance!). The friendly atmosphere and convivial environment added to the delegates enjoyment of a unique evening.
Publication of Papers
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 145 of WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment (Online ISSN: 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com