UWSP professor will present water lessons for Wisconsin
“California Water is Over-Plumbed: What are the Lessons for Wisconsin?” will be presented by George J. Kraft at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
The free presentation is the final program in the Summer Series sponsored by Winchester Academy of Waupaca.
Kraft is a professor of water resources and director for Watershed Science and Education at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). He received his doctorate in soil science and geology from UW-Madison.
The California drought of 2011-2016 had enormous impacts for its water users and the state’s fish and wildlife. Like a Pentagon general who needed to see the front lines first-hand, Kraft arranged for a tour and study of the California water condition during the summer of 2015. This tour in turn influenced Kraft’s thinking about the future of Wisconsin waters.
Kraft proposes that California’s experience may be a call for Wisconsin to be slow and deliberate as it faces increased pressure on water resources, which includes more groundwater pumping for agriculture, encroachment on wetlands and shoreline development.
Authorities from California’s academic, public policy and government institutions provided insights into their immense water infrastructure that gobbles energy to move water all about California’s landscape, he said.
The drought, they said, only exposed the fragility of California water management – the true problem was a sort of arrogance that worried about neither fiscal nor water budgets, and assumed another dam could always be built, another well could always be drilled, another river (even if it was in Oregon or Washington or Canada) could be appropriated to feed an insatiable demand.
The question for California now is how to get its water budget in order, a difficult proposition given the political might of some huge water consumers.
His research interests revolve around questions of water resource sustainability, particularly about profitable agriculture and water impacts.
Kraft was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Water Resources Association for career service on Wisconsin Water issues and he has served as the governor’s representative to the Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council since 2002.
Kraft’s program is free and open to the public. Cookies and coffee are served at 6 p.m. and the program begins at 6:30 p.m.
Program expenses are funded through sponsors and through gifts and donations from community members who support the Academy. Donations are tax deductible.
Kraft’s program is sponsored by Carol Elvery and Bruce Inkmann.
For more information about Winchester Academy check Winchesteracademywaupaca.org, follow Winchester on Facebook, or contact executive director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2927 or [email protected]