Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates (formerly the Water Assembly)

2016  17th Water Assembly Conference


Water Assembly 2016 Conference:

   "Managing the River to Failure - Is There a Better Way?

       9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Saturday, October 22, 2016
UNM Dane Smith Hall, Room 125       
        Albuquerque, New Mexico

                                   Speakers included:   
Link to Biographies

                                            o   John Fleck
o   Bob Wessely
o   Elaine Hebard
o   Sterling Grogan
                                      o   Reed Benson
o   Tom Luebben
                                       o   Michael Jensen
o   Janet Jarratt
o   Phil King
o   Norm Gaume
                                      o   Santiago Maestas
                                       o   Lynn Montgomery
                                      o   Dagmar Llewellyn
                                       o   Kevin Bean
                                      o   Carolyn Kennedy, reporting principles from
Fred Phillips, Em Hall, Frank Titus, and
Jeff Bingaman
Conference Overview:  

            Finding Solutions for Our Water Management Shortfalls

The Rio Grande is a stressed river.  Demands already equal or exceed its capacity.  How will additional promises for new water users and uses be met, even if river flows remained as they have been?  Such commitments do not adequately consider the implications of either historical fluctuations (century-scale droughts) or climate change (warming) effects.    .  

Accepted by all of the local governments in the region, the Water Assembly's 1999 Regional Water Budget revealed that annually, we ran a large average deficit between the water coming into our region and that leaving.  The 2014 draft Water Budget Update showed a similar-sized deficit because, despite the many conservation efforts, river flows had declined as well.  But now we've picked the low-hanging fruit.  Such a deficit has many ramifications, with choices becoming starker as additional users and uses rely on a shrinking river.

Understanding these ramifications is the first step to getting a handle on our future. Residents of the region are entitled to be informed and involved in the choices and tradeoffs for making water management decisions along with the development and implementation of policies and actions. That cannot occur without a realistic understanding of the constraints, issues and problems our scarce water resources currently face, as well as what climate disruption projections mean.

Such information is not easily available so this conference is aimed at countering that.  The first half of the program will include discussion of major water management constraints, impending trigger events, and classic large system failures, including planning and decision-making failures, inadequate or ignored rules, and poor accounting or ignored physical reality.  Then we shift to solutions. The keynote address will be followed by a panel of experts who will quickly present ideas as to how we might resolve, mitigate, or alleviate some of the problems.  Then, participants will engage in an extended discussion of strategies to move forward.  Those, in turn, will be taken to the Assembly's Board to discuss further steps.

This annual event is also when participants are invited to join the Assembly and elect representatives of different interests to the Board.   Grass-roots based, the Assembly has always sought public participation in a variety of ways as well as sound scientific analysis. The Assembly’s purpose is to ensure effective implementation of the Middle Rio Grande Regional Water Plan through an open, inclusive, and participatory process so as to achieve a sustainable water future that balances water use with renewable supply in accordance with the stated goals of the Plan and in the common interests of the people and stakeholders in the region. .  

Handout Documents included:   

          o   Link to Invitation Poster/Flyer
o   Link to Advance Press Release
     o   Link to Conference Agenda
o   Link to Speaker Biographies
o   Link to Interest Group Mission Descriptions
    o   Link to Regional Water Planning Background
o   Link to Plan's Recommendations and Actions Since


      Agenda (with links to slides and audio):   

   8:30   Continental Breakfast
                           Link to introductory slides

                 Link to contents slides

Setting the Stage

                9:00    Welcome - Introduction to the Water Assembly
                  John Fleck 
         Link to audio (10.9 MB)

              9:10        Introduction   
                Bob Wessely
                                 Link to slides (3.54 MB)     Link to Fleck/Wessely audio (10.9 MB)

9:20   Background -where we find ourselvestoday
                  Elaine Hebard
                                 Link to slides (4.40 MB)     Link to audio (15.8 MB)

   9:35     Why We Need toget Better at Local Politics
                  Sterling Grogan
Link to audio (10.4 MB)
                               Limitations and Threats

                9:45        Five Laws thatWon't ChangeIs thata Problem?
                  Reed Benson
                                  Link to slides (0.47 MB)     Link to audio (21.6 MB)

              10:10ImpendingTrain Wrecks
                  Tom Luebben
Link to audio (26.7 MB)
 10:40    Break

                            Classic Large System Failures

10:55    Planningand Decision Making Failures  
                  Michael Jensen
                                 Link to slides (1.23 MB)     Link to audio (9.8 MB)

 11:05    Inadequate orIgnored Rules
                  Janet Jarratt
                                 Link to slides (3.47 MB)     Link to audio (15.7 MB)
 11:20    Aprés nousle déluge or Thumbing OurCollective Nose
                Phil King 
   Link to audio (26.0 MB)
                             Working Lunch

11:50    Processfor Election of Water AssemblyDirectors
                  Bob Wessely
                                Link to slides (1.13 MB)     Link to King/Wessely audio (26.0 MB)

 12:00  Lunch andElections

1:00 WelcomeBack
                  Bob Wessely
                             Link to slides (0.80 MB)  

                             Keynote Address

   1:05  A ShakeupIs Needed in the Water ManagementWorld

                  Norm Gaume
Link to audio (41.0 MB)


            Exploring New Creative Actions to Avoid Catastrophe

            1:20     Panel - Out of the Box Remedial Ideas

                    NMAA's El Plan del Movimiento de las Acequias
Santiago Maestas
Link to Gaume/Maestas audio (41.0 MB)

            Stewardship- A Passion of the Future
       Lynn Montgomery
                                  Link to slides (6.39 MB)     Link to audio (10.5 MB)
            ACollaborative Process toSupport Decision-making
           through Reclamation's Basin StudyProgram
       Dagmar Llewellyn
                                  Link to slides (0.78 MB)     Link to audio (8.2 MB)

            ClimateAdaptation Ideas
       Kevin Bean
Link to audio (9.3 MB)

            Principlesto Consider - drawn fromFred Phillips, Em Hall,
           Frank Titus, and Jeff Bingaman
       Carolyn Kennedy
                                  Link to slides (0.59 MB)     Link to audio (4.4 MB)

    1:50 FacilitatedDiscussion of Strategiesto Move Forward

                  Elaine Hebard
Link to audio (25.5 MB)

                                      Wrap Up

            2:50     ClosingWords, What Next?
                   John Fleck
Link to audio (11.2 MB)

            3:00     Adjourn Water Assembly Conference



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