Newswise — Water is a fundamental need of all life on our planet; however in this age, the issue of fresh water has become one of conflict and tension. Global water policies are failing to meet the needs of populations, while ecosystems are paying a severe price for the lack of innovation. With so much at stake for our security and the health of the planet, are our policies going to meet the basic needs of the world's expansive population? Two world-renowned experts on water resources will address these issues in a forum on Sunday evening, 5 October in Houston. The event kicks of a week of scientific discussions during the 2008 Joint Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), American Society of Agronomy (ASA), and Crop Science Society of America (CSSA). The forum is the featured 2008 Distinguished York Lecturer, with Peter Gleick, co-founder and President of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, CA, and Sandra Postel, founder and Director of the Global Water Policy Project in Amherst, MA. The forum will be moderated by Joe Palca, a science correspondent for National Public Radio. It will be held on 5 October from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the General Assembly Theater of the George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX.

Peter Gleick's research focuses on the relationship between water and human health, as well as the challenges faced by the global water supply as a result of conflict and terrorism. He is the recipient of the 2003 MacArthur Fellowship "Genius Award" , and is the author of the biannual water report, The World's Water. His presentation, "New Thinking on the Path to Sustainable Freshwater Management," will explain his concept of a "soft path" to sustainable water management, which includes decentralized water infrastructure, economic reforms and institutions that focus on individual communities.

Sandra Postel is a leading environmental researcher focusing on conservation and sustainable use of global water resources. She is the author of several books on water resources, including the acclaimed books Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last? and Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity, which was the basis for a PBS documentary. Postel's presentation, "Rivers and Wetlands Need Water, Too! The Missing Piece in Water Policy," will focus on how current water infrastructure systems such as dams, reservoirs, pumps and canals have damaged the ecosystem and the natural ways that water is distributed to many areas of the world. She believes that a new system of strategies are needed to make sure that basic human needs are met, while also promoting the well-being of this natural eco-infrastructure.

More than 8,000 scientists and professionals will gather at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, 5 to 9 October to discuss the latest research and trends in energy, water resources, climate change, agriculture, science education, and more. This is the first-ever Joint Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies. For meeting information, visit: http://www.acsmeetings.org or contact GSA's Christa Stratton or SSSA-ASA-CSSA's Sara Uttech..

More than 8,000 scientists and professionals will gather at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, 5 to 9 October to discuss the latest research and trends in energy, water resources, climate change, agriculture, science education, and more. This is the first-ever Joint Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies. For meeting information, visit: http://www.acsmeetings.org or contact GSA's Christa Stratton or SSSA-ASA-CSSA's Sara Uttech.

Complimentary registration is offered to credentialed journalists. To register, present a business card or other press credentials to the Newsroom in Houston, Room 350-B George R. Brown Convention Center. Newsroom Phone, beginning 4 October: +1-713-853-8329. For media eligibility requirements and registration information, visit http://www.acsmeetings.org/registrations/media

The Geological Society of America (GSA), founded in 1888, is a broad, unifying scientific society with 21,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 85 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members, and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.

ASA (http://www.agronomy.org), CSSA (http://www.crops.org) and SSSA (http://www.soils.org) are scientific societies based in Madison, WI, helping their 11,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy, crop, and soil sciences by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.