Water is essential for life: our lives and the lives of all living organisms. Despite the abundance of water on the planet, the availability of usable water is rapidly declining due to pollution, dams, over-use of ancient aquifers, and losses or changes in traditional sources due to climate change. Industry and agriculture demand large supplies of water which can lead to contamination of potable water, salinization of soils, loss of crop land, and diversion of water that could be used elsewhere. In Minnesota, the greatest challenges may be in how we care for our local rivers, streams, and lakes. Yet globally, billions of people have too little water for drinking, cooking and sanitation, and much of the water they do have is unsafe due to microbial or chemical contamination.
This year’s Science Symposium will focus on the science of clean water and water-related issues in science and technology, governmental policies and community engagement, and our moral and ethical responsibilities to our people locally and across the globe.