Tomorrow: Public Forum – San Antonio’s Water Future: Better Alternatives (to the Vista Ridge deal)

Public Forum:
San Antonio’s Water Future: Better Alternatives (to the Vista Ridge deal) and better ways of engaging the whole community in deciding and realizing that Water Future

Tuesday, May 19 — 6:30-8:30 pm.

Location: at Trinity University, in Northrup Hall 040 (bottom floor of administration building)
Parking lots: Alamo Stadium and Trinity Lot E (beside Parker Chapel, off Oakmont).

Sponsored by: Trinity University Environmental Studies Program and Biology Department, as well as the Alamo Group of the Sierra Club, The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, and the Headwaters Coalition.

Forum Goals:
Less than a year ago, the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) reversed its staff-recommended direction and proposed to commit several billion dollars to a public-private water acquisition deal that should have been questioned much more thoroughly before it was even considered by City Council. The whole community must be involved in thinking about and planning for our Water Future, because water is essential to all of us for health and life itself.Some of the questions we should consider in this and future public forums include:
We live in a dry region where regional mega-droughts might last for 100 years or more, so how can we protect our aquifer and adapt to thinking ahead for withstanding prolonged droughts?How can we – as a community – be prepared for the effects of climate change, with increasing numbers of high-heat days and more frequent extreme weather events (like droughts, flooding, and heat waves)? And how can we prepare for those effects without increasing greenhouse gas emissions?

-How can we protect all residents’ rights to the water necessary for health and life, even in the face of economic downturns (such as base closures, national recessions, and climate-change-triggered regional economic losses)?

-How can we plan for and control future population growth so that our community does not deplete its vital resources – especially water?

-What do we need to know in order to better understand and democratically decide about our community water resources?

In the first hour, three speakers will provide some useful concepts and information to begin the conversation. After that, we invite the audience to participate in the discussion. [There will be time limits for each comment or question, and we urge all participants to be active listeners and to help build the kind of genuine civic engagement that would be a good example for all Texas.]

About the speakers:

Char Miller: Dr. Miller is the W. M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis at Pomona College in California, from which he will be participating in this forum by video-conference. Formerly Chair of the History Department and Director of the Urban Studies program at Trinity University, Char is a recognized authority on water issues in South Texas, especially regarding the Edwards Aquifer and the San Antonio River watershed. His most recent book, On the Edge: Water, Immigration, and Politics in the Southwest, was published by Trinity University Press in 2013.

Meredith McGuire: Dr. McGuire, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Trinity University, has taught several courses on environmental health, environmental justice, and linkages between social inequality and the causes of illness. Recently retired from Trinity, she is still active (as a volunteer) in research and teaching with students in Environmental Studies, Urban Studies, and International Studies programs. Dr. McGuire is Co-Chair of the Alamo Sierra Club’s Conservation Committee, applying her expertise in Environmental Health to San Antonio’s public health problems – including water resources and inequality.

Mike Mecke: A San Antonio native, with a Masters in Rangeland Ecology & Watershed Management, Mike worked for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in several western states, before returning to San Antonio where he became Water Resources Planner for San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) for ten years. Subsequently, he was Water Specialist for the Texas Water Resources Institute and Texas A&M Extension Service in Ft. Stockton, promoting water planning, water conservation, water quality, rainwater harvesting, and environmentally sustainable watershed management.

For further information, contact:
Dr. Meredith McGuire
mmcguire@trinity.edu
210-999-8560