U.S. Senator Tom Udall Highlights Water Research Conference


Senator Tom Udall Highlights Water Research Conference


SOCORRO, N.M. – United States Senator Tom Udall was the featured guest at the Water Resource Research Institute’s annual conference at New Mexico Tech on Tuesday with a morning full of talks about science and policy.

New Mexico Tech President Dr. Stephen Wells gave the opening talk, in which he spoke about the “Landscape of Water – Past, Present and Future.” Wells has more than 30 years of experience in geology and leadership positions in New Mexico and Nevada.

Udall said he was pleased to see the WRRI hold its annual meeting in Socorro for the first time.

“We really appreciate New Mexico Tech hosting this meeting,” he said. “Tech has always made great contributions to the state of New Mexico.”

New Mexico’s senior senator first presented an update of the efforts associated with the 2012 Conference Report and the federal Drought Bill. He then moderated a panel discussion on water management and conservation efforts in New Mexico. The panel featured experts from the Office of the State Engineer, the UNM Water Resources Program, N.M. Acequia Association and other groups.

“How do you change habits in a drought?” Udall said. “The conservation efforts are dramatic. The progress we have made on conservation is striking.”

Udall2.1He said continued conservation efforts face an uphill challenge of attracting young people to join the field of water management. He said the nation is struggling to find young people to work in this area of public service, similar to other areas of governance.

After a short talk by State Engineer Tom Blaine, Udall returned to the stage for a conversation with WRRI Director Sam Fernald and Brad Udall, the senator’s cousin and the director of the Colorado Water Institute.

In addition to discussing how they came to be in leadership positions, the Udalls spoke about importance of good stewardship and the role of science in decision-making. Senator Udall closed the morning session by stating that he feels optimistic that current and future leaders’ ability to allocate the Southwest’s most precious resource – water.

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