Expert: Beyond California, other water crises loom

ROLLA, Mo. – The water crisis in California may be the most severe and visible, but other threats to the nation’s water supply loom, says Dr. Joel Burken, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

“Most changes in the water cycle cause considerable impacts,” says Burken, who recently served on a National Science Foundation panel to investigate what is called “the water-energy-food nexus.” That NSF panel published a guide for further research efforts.

“We have settled in places and undertaken industrial and agricultural activities largely based on water availability,” Burken says. “When that availability changes, we must adapt. If the change is rather rapid, we often face a crisis.”

Noting that parts of Texas are in a prolonged drought, community leaders and individuals there are of necessity “changing the way they view water, including water reuse.” New water reuse methods may involve converting wastewater to drinking water, Burken says.

Journalists interested in talking to Burken about the current water crisis in California or the possibility of a similar crisis elsewhere in the nation may contact Missouri S&T Marketing and Communications at 573-341-4328 or email [email protected] to arrange an interview.