Water expert to visit campus

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In continuation with the year-long Culture and Climate Change event series, Gannon University will host “Chasing Water in a Rapidly Changing World,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Yehl Ballroom of the Waldron Campus Center.
The speech will be given by Brian Richter, the chief scientist for the water program and the director of global freshwater strategies for The Nature Conservancy, an international conservation organization.
Richter will be on campus Tuesday through Friday and will speak in Gannon classes and meet with local nonprofit organizations to educate the community, in addition to giving his keynote speech at Gannon.
In the presentation, Richter will talk about some of the most promising strategies for moving toward a more sustainable water future.
Water scarcity has been spreading and intensifying globally, presenting growing challenges for communities, businesses and ecosystem protection.
Lessened water availability is projected for many water-stressed regions due to climate change, which is why new approaches to water management are urgently needed.
Ann Bomberger, Ph. D., director of the Honors program, said that Gannon hosts fellows from the Civic Engagement Council every year and since the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences’ (CHESS) theme this year is “Culture and Climate Change,” Richter’s specialty fit right in.
“It’s stunning the ways that politics and relationships within communities get impacted and change in relation to climate and change,” she said. “Water is something people fight about right now and with climate change, it gets increasingly worse.”
Bomberger also said that due to Gannon’s location, she thinks some people may take water for granted.
“I think given our area, we tend to think of water as completely bountiful,” she said. “We’re fortunate to have a great lake that is right here and we don’t think about how precious it is to so many places.”
She also said that she thinks the presentation will help give those who attend a perspective about some of the ways that water is impacting global politics already and help them to understand the importance of water preservation and protection.
Richter has consulted on more than 120 water projects worldwide and serves as a water adviser to some of the world’s largest corporations, investment banks, the United Nations and has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions.  He also teaches a course on water sustainability at the University of Virginia.
Richter has developed numerous scientific tools and methods to support river protection and restoration efforts, including the “Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration” software that is being used by water managers and scientists worldwide.
Richter’s speech will be free and open to the public.

SAMANTHA GRISWOLD
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