UGA water task force to hold public forum on drought Oct. 23

UGA water task force to hold public forum on drought Oct. 23

thens, Ga. – The University of Georgia’s ad hoc task force on water resources, which is working on ways to cope with the drought, will hold a two-hour public forum Oct. 23 to report on its work and receive comments and suggestions on ways to save water.

The forum, from 6-8 p.m. in the university Chapel, will include updates on the severity of the drought and the status of the local water supply, a review of UGA’s efforts to reduce water consumption and a report on the work of the task force, which was formed earlier this month.

It will also be an opportunity for faculty, staff and students to offer ideas and suggestions for ways the university can save water and use it more wisely, said Lonnie Brown and Kathy Pharr, co-chairs of the task force.

“We want to inform the campus community of the work of the task force and the progress we are making, and provide an opportunity for everyone to be engaged as participants in our efforts,” said Brown and Pharr in announcing the forum.

“Public awareness of the severity of the water situation is essential, and fostering a campus-wide dialogue about the issue is vitally important. Collective input will greatly assist the task force in developing meaningful recommendations for significantly reducing campus water consumption in the short term and sustained conservation and supply measures for the future.”

During the forum’s first hour, speakers will discuss the current status of the drought and the work of the task force to date. Speakers will include Brown and Pharr; Pam Knox, assistant state climatologist and a faculty member in engineering; Todd Rasmussen, professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and an expert on water issues; and Ralph Johnson, associate vice president for physical plant.

Katie Bowers, president of the Student Government Association and a member of the task force, will speak about how students can help with drought issues.

The second hour of the forum will be given over to audience feedback and comment. Speakers will have three minutes each to make remarks and present suggestions. A suggestion box will also be available for people to leave written comments.

UGA has created a drought Web site that provides current information and tips for saving water. It can be viewed at ww.uga.edu/aboutUGA/water_tips.html or accessed from the UGA Web home page, www.uga.edu, via a link on the “Every Drop Counts” section.

UGA’s water task force was created by Arnett Mace, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, and Tim Burgess, senior vice president for finance and administration. They charged the group with recommending “practical actions” to save two to five percent of current water usage in order to reach a possible reduction of 25 percent.

They also requested recommendations for conserving water over a sustained period and for potential ways the university can increase its water supply in the short- and long-term. The task force will present its report and recommendations in mid-November.