Water in the West symposium will bring global perspective to local challenges

CSU Spur Water in the West Symposium. Global Successes and Solutions. November 2-3. Seawell Ballroom and virtual.

When he speaks on Wednesday at the CSU Spur Water in the West symposium, Jay Famiglietti, executive director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan, will provide a big picture view on how the global availability of freshwater is changing.  

This picture, emerging from satellite data and computer models, is one of global hotspots that are, in his words, seeing either “too much or too little water,” and of patterns that are changing “much faster than people realize.” 

Yet Famiglietti’s emphasis as he offers the symposium’s opening keynote will be on the potential to find solutions to these water challenges by bringing different disciplines and sectors together to learn about approaches that have worked elsewhere.  

Jay Famiglietti headshot
Jay Famiglietti

“We can no longer afford to have these individual, silo-based solutions,” said Famiglietti, who previously served as senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. 

That perspective will set the tone for this year’s CSU Spur Water in the West symposium, which will focus on the theme, “Global Water: Successes and Solutions.” The event, occurring Nov. 2-3 in Denver’s Seawell Ballroom, will bring together policymakers, researchers, and experts from the business, nonprofit, and agriculture sectors to look globally for lessons and strategies that could be applied locally as Colorado and other western states respond to the region’s water challenges.   

After Famiglietti’s keynote, the program will then continue through a series of panel discussions and keynote speeches aimed at starting conversations about how communities and the entire region can respond and adapt to the pressures created by a growing population within a changing environment.   

Two panels will examine lessons and opportunities related to international water agreements. In a session on the United States and Mexico, Jennifer Gimbel, senior water policy scholar at the Colorado Water Center at CSU, will moderate a discussion focused on lessons that have emerged from past negotiations and may contribute to solutions moving forward. A discussion focused on negotiations involving the United States and Canada will be moderated by John Tracy, director of the Colorado Water Center.    

Other panels will explore global solutions from the agriculture sector, the business community, and cities.  The program’s concluding keynote will be given by Maura Barry, Senior Deputy Assistant to the Administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security and interim USAID Global Water Coordinator.  

A reception at CSU Spur the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 2, will bring Symposium participants together with those attending Regenerate 2022, a conference focused on sharing knowledge and building a culture of resilience.  

In coming years, the Spur campus’s Hydro building, which opens in January, will be home to the Water in the West Symposium and a range of programs and initiatives focused on water research, conservation, and education.   

The deadline to register for the symposium is Sunday, October 30. Additional program details and registration information are available at csuspur.org/witw/.    

About CSU Spur     

CSU Spur is a new, free educational year-round public life-long learning destination in Denver focused on engaging PreK-12 students, families, and visitors around food, water, and health. CSU Spur showcases the work of the CSU System campuses: CSU, CSU Pueblo, and CSU Global, and offers degree programs that originate from the campus offerings. Spur is built upon the land-grant mission of access to education and the belief that students can be anything they want to be. To inspire learners of all ages to engage in important world issues, CSU Spur brings together scientists to collaborate, puts science on-display, and showcases career paths. The CSU Spur campus provides immersive learning experiences and cutting-edge research across three buildings: Vida, Terra, and Hydro. Learn more at CSUSpur.org.