U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to address Water in the West Symposium

Water Symposium graphic

Current United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Former US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack are among the experts joining Colorado State University’s inaugural Water in the West Symposium on April 26-27, 2018 at McNichols Civic Center Building, 144 W. Colfax Ave., Denver.

The Symposium will bring more than 370 participants and 30 leading water authorities from across the nation to speak to the future of water in the Western region.

“When you think about water and the variety of uses that we put water to, it’s an amazing natural resource and something obviously that life depends on,” said Vilsack, who joined CSU as a special advisor on the National Western Center project in April 2017, and has been key to visioning the Symposium.

“It’s not just life that depends on [water], economic opportunity depends on it, the opportunity to enjoy and entertain and to recreate depends on it, the opportunity to have safety and security in your home depends on it, your public health depends on it, it’s an amazing resource and it’s one, frankly, that most of us take for granted,” he said.

The Symposium will seek to understand water issues from a multidisciplinary perspective and set the stage for the research, policy work, and outreach focus for the future Water Resources Center, the first building to be constructed on the new National Western Center campus, and will address topics such as:

  • Research and innovation in water across sectors
  • Financing water projects
  • Federal perspectives on Western water issues
  • Connections between food, energy, and water in the West

Vilsack said the event is key to communicating the urgency of addressing water issues and bringing leadership across business, agriculture, recreation, conservation, and a variety of other sectors to the table to begin the necessary work to identify solutions.

“I think the time has come to really understand the role that water plays in our lives, to treat it as the precious natural resource that it is and to figure out ways that we can ensure that future generations will have sufficient water to do all of the variety of activity that water currently does today,” said Vilsack.

A full list of the more than 30 Symposium speakers is available at nwc.colostate.edu, including:

  • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
  • Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
  • U.S. Senator Michael Bennet
  • Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
  • Jim Lochhead, CEO and Manager, Denver Water
  • Tom Halverson, President and CEO, CoBank
  • Mike Reidy, Senior Vice President, Leprino Foods
  • Becky Mitchell, Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board
  • Bruce Karas, VP of Sustainability, Coca-Cola North America
  • Ted Kowalski, Director of the Colorado Water Initiative, Walton Family Foundation
  • Gili Elkin, General Partner, Israel Colorado Innovation Fund
  • Former Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis
  • Colorado Gubernatorial candidates

Registration is available at nwc.colostate.edu. General admission is $325; the government and non-profit rate is $175.

Sponsors include Denver Water, CoBank, Leprino Foods, Zoma Capital, Molson Coors, CSU Office of the Vice President for Research, Business for Water Stewardship, Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center, Coca-Cola, Hach, New Belgium Brewing, Barn Media, Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bros Bagels, the Water Foundry, and Kaiser Permanente.

Colorado State University and the National Western Center

Colorado State University has made a long-term commitment to the reimagining of the National Western Center in north Denver, and the communities surrounding the project. Efforts are underway to create partnerships with community schools, nonprofits and businesses, and to actively engage in the community.

A key and founding partner in the National Western Center, CSU will have three buildings within the 250-acre campus upon completion. The project, which will break ground in the coming years, expands and regenerates the current National Western Stock Show site, turning it into a vibrant, year-round experiential, community-centric, life-long learning destination in the heart of Denver. 

As Colorado’s land-grant university, CSU’s mission of research, service, and access, fits with the outreach mission of the National Western Center. CSU’s plans at the new campus focus on research and education programming in the areas of food systems, water, environment, energy, and health. The university has initiated programming and service outreach efforts before buildings are constructed, as part of its commitment to the area. For additional information, visit nwc.colostate.edu.