Celebrate AZ Water: The Business of Water, 2018 WRRC Annual Conference

No matter who you are or where you live, you are affected by the business of water. On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, The Business of Water will be front and center at the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center’s (WRRC’s) Annual Conference, which will be held at the University of Arizona Student Union in Tucson, Arizona.

Join us as we discuss complex issues vital to sustaining our water supplies into the future. Dynamic keynote speakers and multiple panels will focus on key questions: How will water exchanges, transfers, and market-based transactions affect not just our water supplies, but the future of our communities?  What is the role of the private sector, including public-private partnerships, in building, operating, and maintaining key water infrastructure?  How is business involved in conservation and innovative arrangements to secure water for nature? What is water’s function in generating economic development and well-being?

Registration for the March 28, 2018 WRRC Conference is open and you can register now, at the early bird rate of only $100. To register, click here.  Early bird rate ends on Friday, March 2, 2018, when registration will increase to $125. Students may register for only $45.

Exciting Panels and Keynote Speakers

A diverse array of panels and keynote speakers will explore the many facets of our topic. Expect much more than balance sheets and flow charts—this conference offers insights on the way the business of water touches your life.

We are excited to feature a keynote address by the Honorable Stephen Roe Lewis, Governor of the Gila River Indian Community. Governor Lewis will be introduced with remarks by University of Arizona President Dr. Robert C.

Robbins. Tom Buschatzke, Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources will close out the day with his keynote address: The Business of Water – The Future. In addition to keynote addresses, four panels are being offered, each containing three to four expert presentations, as well as moderated follow-up discussions.

The first panel, Public-Private Partnerships (P3), will explore ways in which private investors can work with public water utilities to address infrastructure and water needs. Rod Smith Ph.D., President of Stratecon, Inc., will set the stage by introducing the key components of public-private partnerships. Case studies, including innovative water transfers to the City of San Antonio, building desalination to supply water to San Diego, and the role of P3 in the Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility in Pima County, will be presented by Mike Irlbeck, Director of Business Development at EPCOR, Chris Higgins, Executive Director at Goldman-Sachs, and John Moffat, Economic Development Director for Pima County.

The complexities, lessons learned, and ethical considerations of water transactions will be the topic of the second morning panel.  A hot topic, transactions in water involve the many ways the control of specific water supplies can be changed. Moderated by Ted Cooke, General Manager at Central Arizona Project, the panel includes: Peter Culp, Culp & Kelly, LLP, Cynthia Campbell, Water Resources Management Advisor at the City of Phoenix, and Richard Morrison, Chairman of Morrison Enterprises.

Our lunchtime discussion features Edward Drusina, Commissioner for the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) and Salvador López-Córdova, Chief Environmental Officer for North American Development Bank (NADB). Both will join moderator Dr. Sharon Megdal for an informative conversation about binational cooperation and the intricacies of cross-border water management. International collaboration to sustainably manage shared waters, including rivers and aquifers, is increasing in importance in arid areas, and the shared U.S.-Mexico border is no exception.

The afternoon panels address two topics with crucial connections – the environment and economic opportunity. Through these panels, we will look at the whole ecosystem of water. Not only water’s importance to environmentally sensitive areas, but also how water can be at the core of economic development plans, community identity, and promotion. For details on conference topics and our stellar list of speakers, please see the Agenda on the WRRC web site.

The Business of Water promises to be yet another exciting WRRC conference! We hope you will plan to join us on March 28 as we consider these complex and dynamic issues.


From time to time, Water – Use It Wisely features guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. This month, we feature the Water Resources Research Center (WRRC), which was established in 1964 as  part of the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  A trusted source of water information, the WRRC conducts applied, “real-world” research, and engages, trains, and informs people through its publications, presentations, and other media with wide impacts—local, state-wide, regional, national, and international. The WRRC bridges the academic and nonacademic communities to empower informed decision-making on important water-related issues, serving the academic community, professionals from the public and private sectors, K-12 teachers and their students, and the public.

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