Article taken from the University of Arizona website and may be found here.
Juan Valdes, the head of the UA civil engineering department and deputy director of the National Science Foundation Center for Sustainability of semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas, or SAHRA, will be one of the keynote speakers on Friday at the 2008 Water Science Forum: Practical Cutting-Edge Technology for Water Services. The discussions will focus on specific applications for Africa, but will have implications for third-world countries everywhere.
The forum was organized by the U.S. State Department and the National Science Foundation, several federal agencies and researchers, and two science and technology centers, including SAHRA. The audience will include a number of ambassadors and science advisers from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO.
Valdes will discuss how the interdisciplinary integration of science and the latest technology can secure water supplies serving both economic and environmental interests, and will give an overview on overcoming threats to water shortages in semi-arid regions.
“We’ll be talking about some of the parallels between the sem-arid Southwest and the other semi-arid parts of the world, particularly Africa,” Valdes said. “What we have learned in the Southwest is because we started earlier than others. We’ll also discuss how those lessons can be transferred to other nations. The main emphasis of the message will be capacity sharing and knowledge transfer, and that not everything is done top-down but through a combination of top-down planning and bottom-up governance.”
SAHRA already is internationally known for its work on these issues, including how to develop water budgets, flood and drought monitoring, long-term forecasts and early warning systems. Valdes said many of the lessons he's bringing to the forum were learned in addressing water issues in the Upper San Pedro River Basin in southern Arizona.
Valdes said because of social, cultural and political differences, there is no single solution that will solve all of Africa’s water problems. He said he plans to discuss available low-cost data sources, and transferable scientific knowledge and modeling tools.
The daylong, invitation-only event will be held at the Department of State Building in Washington, D.C.