Speaker compares California, Wisconsin water issues
By Maggie Jones
George Kraft will present “California Water is Over-Plumbed: What are the Lessons for Wisconsin?” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1 at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
This is the final program in Winchester Academy’s Summer Series.
The California drought of 2011-16 had enormous impacts for its water users and the state’s fish and wildlife.
Kraft toured and studied the conditions of California water during the summer of 2015. This tour influenced his thinking about the future of Wisconsin waters.
He spoke with authorities from California’s academic, public policy and government institutions about the immense water infrastructure that moves water all about California’s landscape.
The drought, they said, exposed the fragility of California water management. The underlying problem was a sort of arrogance that 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.
Kraft proposes that California’s experience may be a call for Wisconsin to be slow and deliberate as the state faces increased pressure on its water resources, which includes more groundwater pumping for agriculture, encroachment on wetlands and shoreline development.
Kraft is professor of water resources and director for watershed science and education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He received his doctorate in soil science and geology from UW-Madison.
His research interests revolve about questions of water resource sustainability, particularly about 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. He has served as the governor’s representative to the Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council since 2002.
The 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.
Winchester Academy programs are funded through sponsors and tax-deductible donations. Kraft’s program is sponsored by Carol Elvery and Bruce Inkmann.
For more information about Winchester Academy check Winchesteracademywaupaca.org, follow on Facebook or contact Executive Director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.