The Water Science and Policy Center at the University of California, Riverside is hosting a public symposium on Oct. 17 to examine the challenges that agriculture and other sectors are confronting in the face of increasing water scarcity and expected climate change.

Titled “Water Policy in the West,” the symposium will address strategies needed to meet projected demands for water, a resource that is now the focus of increasing international concern.

The two-hour symposium will start at 4 p.m., and will take place at UC Riverside’s Alumni & Visitors Center, in its Alumni Meeting Rooms 1 & 2.  The center is located at 3701 Canyon Crest Dr., Riverside, Calif.  Parking for symposium attendees is free in Lot 24.

While there is no charge to attend the symposium, registration is required and can be made by emailing carol.obrien@ucr.edu.

“This symposium will focus on work that influenced water policy in the west at the federal level, and in Texas and California,” said Ariel Dinar, the director of the Water Science and Policy Center and the moderator of the symposium.  “Water scarcity problems in other western states and Texas are similar to those confronting California, but the policies differ. The symposium will allow local participants to better understand which policies may work best in California.”

The symposium will commence with a talk by Glenn Schaible, an agricultural economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture — Economic Research Service. His presentation is titled “U.S. Irrigated Agriculture: Trends and Challenges in the Face of Emerging Demands and Climate Change.”

Schaible’s research program focuses on the economics of water conservation policy, irrigated agriculture, factors influencing producer technology and water management decisions, and behavioral differences in conservation practice adoption between conservation participants and non-participants.

“Population and economic growth, changing societal values for water quality and the environment, and Native American water-right claims have been the traditional drivers increasing water resource demands across the United States,” he said.  “However, energy development and expected water demand/supply impacts from climate change are placing new pressures on water allocations, heightening awareness of the importance of water conservation and the sustainability of irrigated agriculture.”

His talk will be followed by a presentation, titled “Texas State 50-year Water Plans and Policies,” by Ari Michelsen, a professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University and the research director of the AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso.