Montana State University

Statewide water policy is topic of Burton K. Wheeler conference set May 9-10 in Glasgow

April 1, 2011

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The future of water in Montana, and how changes could affect the important resource, will be explored when the Burton K. Wheeler Center at Montana State University hosts its spring conference, "The Cost of Water: Who Benefits? Who Pays?" set May 9-10 at the Cottonwood Inn in Glasgow.

International water expert Maude Barlow, co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which works internationally for the right to water, will be among the speakers at the two-day conference.

"Water has always been more or less abundant and free in Montana and as a result agriculture has flourished, our streams have sustained extraordinary fisheries, and communities have had adequate water supplies," said Ralph Johnson, director of the Wheeler Center. "But for how long will this be the case? Who will and who should benefit from important decisions made about water in the near and long term? And, who will and should pay for this increasingly valuable resource? These are some of the issues we'll explore."

Johnson said the discussion will be wide-ranging, involving water issues around the state.

In addition to Barlow, who is the author of "The Right to Water in Montana and the West," speakers will include John Thorsen, who chairs the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee, and Larry Janis, Water Supply Business Line Manager in the Omaha office of the Corps of Engineers.

The conference fee is $30 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch and all conference materials. Registration is open through 5 p.m. May 4. A full conference itinerary can be found at: http://www.wheelercenter.org/#conferences_events.

The Burton K. Wheeler Center for Public Policy promotes the discussion, analysis and eventual resolution of critical issues facing Montana and the region. Based at MSU, the center holds two conferences annually, sponsors research and lectures, publishes conference reports and maintains a Web page for Montanans and others who are seeking solutions to some of today's most pressing issues and problems.

For more information about the conference, contact Julie Hitchcock at 994-0336 or jhitch@montana.edu.

Julie Hitchcock (406) 994-0336, jhitch@montana.edu