Center for Environmental Studies hosts water supply workshop

Elon University’s Center for Environmental Studies examined issues critical to the protection of watersheds and water supplies during a seminar titled, “A River Runs Through Us,” Friday, Sept. 29 in McKinnon Hall...

The seminar offered a variety of speakers, presentations and exhibits about water supplies in North Carolina and sustainable management of water resources. Government experts, scholars and representatives explored ways to protect the Cape Fear River Basin, which is the main source of water for almost a third of North Carolina residents.

The keynote speaker was Alice Outwater, author of several books on water resource management. She managed biosolids for the $6 billion Boston Harbor cleanup project before moving to Colorado, where she continues to work on water resource management issues. Outwater is author of “Water: A Natural History,” “The Cartoon Guide to the Environment,” and “The Beneficial Reuse of Sludge and Minor Wastewater Residuals.” She earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in technology and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Panelists for the workshop included Cam McNutt, N.C. Division of Water Quality; James Merritt, director of the Lower Cape Fear River Basin Association and faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington; Carol Tingley, chief of natural resources with the N.C. Department of Parks and Recreation; Dennis Tierney, senior scientist with Syngenta Crop Protection; and Janet MacFall, director of the Elon Center for Environmental Studies.

The Cape Fear River Basin serves industrial and agricultural centers in North Carolina. The basin is home to 27 percent of the state’s population, including more than one million residents in the Upper Cape Fear Basin, which includes Greensboro, High Point, Asheboro, Burlington, Durham and Chapel Hill.

Established in 2000, the Center for Environmental Studies promotes environmental education, responsibility, stewardship and leadership while providing opportunities for students and faculty to work with individuals and organizations outside the university. The center has been involved in a variety of efforts to monitor and protect the Cape Fear basin.

Co-sponsors for “A River Runs Through Us” included the N.C. Section of the American Water Works Association; the N.C. Water Environment Association; the N.C. Water Operators Association; Duke Energy; Piedmont Land Conservancy; Syngenta; and the Haw River Assembly.