The UF Water Institute is pleased to announce that Dr. Daniel (Pete) Loucks on campus today meeting with students and faculty and speaking in the Smallwood Distinguished Scholar Seminar Series.

February 5, 2009
Daniel P. Loucks, Professor of Water Resource Planning and Management, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University
Title:  Managing Water for a Sustainable Life (abstract)
Time: 3 pm Thursday, February 5, 2009
Location: 209 Emerson Hall

Dr. Loucks' Itinerary:

11am - 1pm      Lunch with the Water Institute Faculty Advisory Committee (307 Weil Hall)
1pm - 2pm        Graduate student round table focusing on the use of modeling and communication of modeling uncertainty in water resources decision making.  (122 Frazier Rogers Hall)
3pm - 5pm        Seminar and Discussion  (209 Emerson Hall)

Note for those off-campus: This seminar will be available live on the web at 3pm from this page:

Seminar Title:  Managing Water for a Sustainable Life


Water is essential for all forms of life and a viable economy. Water is also essential for food and a quality environment. Without adequate food and a quality environment and supporting ecosystem, life and the economy will suffer. When water is scarce, just how do we decide how much water to allocate to all competing uses of water that enhance a sustainable quality of life?  This paper addresses some of the complexities of answering such a question, especially related to environmental flow allocations.   Only relatively recently have we all begun to recognize the importance of not only keeping we humans from becoming too thirsty, but also of maintaining healthy functioning ecosystems as indeed these ecosystems what we depend on to sustain our own lives. We are indeed a part of our ecosystems.  We depend upon our environment and ecosystems to sustain the quality of our lives, if not life itself.

Balancing water demand allocations, especially when the demands exceed supplies, is a complex, and largely political, problem.  It is likely to become even more complex and political and contentious in the future as populations grow and as water quantities and their qualities become even more variable and uncertain.  But at least the political process of making allocations should be informed by scientific studies of the likely impacts of alternative allocation decisions, especially with respect to environmental flow demands.

How do we allocate scarce water supplies optimally among all demands that impact on the quality of, or even on the existence of, life - both human and ecosystem life - in times of critical water scarcity? The temptation is to ignore environmental flow demands.  Such decisions can be at the expense of maintaining a sustainable place to live and prosper.