Summit will explore global water shortage and DuPage County's response
December 4, 2007
Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
Less than 1 percent of all the water on earth is available fresh water. Nevertheless, the water supply was adequate in the 18th century when the world population was less than one billion, and even in the year 1900 when the population was two billion.
However, today the population has reached more than 6 billion and mankind has reached the limit for the number of people the water available can support. Yet by the year 2025, the world’s population will have grown by another three billion people. This makes water shortage a massive global environment problem.
Scientists, elected officials, engineers and health professionals will be among those addressing the global need for water and the local response at the Fifth Annual DuPage Environmental Summit, “Clean Water: We Can’t Live Without It!,” from 11:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 9, 2008 in the Krasa Student Center on the campus of Benedictine University.
While the world’s water shortage is often considered a Third World problem, domestic growth areas like DuPage County, which gets most of its water from Lake Michigan, are responsible for an increasing demand on the water supply.
“The domestic demand for water is increasing at an alarming rate that even puts what appears to be our unlimited supply at risk,” said John Mickus, Ph.D., professor of biology at Benedictine University. “There are also concerns that Great Lakes water will be sold to other nations, which would put our supply at greater risk.
“People use water for drinking, preparing food, bathing, washing clothes and dishes, brushing teeth, watering the yard and garden, and even washing the dog,” he added. “If you add other demands like water gardens, backyard pools, washing the car and industry, and multiply that by a growing urban population, you can see why water restrictions could someday be the norm rather than the exception.”
Industry is a major contributor to the dwindling water supply. If current trends continue, water consumption by industry will more than double by 2025. In certain countries the water needs of industry will increase even more. China, for example, is expected to experience a five-fold demand for water by industry by the year 2030.
Access to clean water is also a concern. More than 1 billion people worldwide – about one-sixth of the world’s population – lack access to clean water. More than 2 million people in the developing world, most of them children, die each year from the effects of unclean drinking water, inadequate sanitary conditions and poor hygiene.
Meanwhile, environmental scientists struggle with how to protect and restore natural waterways and groundwater while still meeting human needs for space, economic development and natural resources. Watershed managers wrestle with the competing demands of flood control, transportation, water supply, fisheries and industry.
The summit will include remarks by DuPage County Board Chairman Robert J. Schillerstrom, Conservation Foundation President/CEO Brook McDonald and DuPage Environmental Commission Chairman Jack Sheaffer.
Topics that will be addressed include “Local Initiatives” with Larry Cox of the DuPage River Salt Creek Work Group; “Funding Stormwater and Water Quality in DuPage” with Tony Charlton of DuPage County; “Opportunities for Reuse of Wastewater” with David Mullan of Shaeffer International; and “Water Conservation at Home and Business” with Markus DaLaflore of Conservation Design Forum.
The summit is sponsored by the DuPage Environmental Commission, The Conservation Foundation, the DuPage County Board Environmental Committee, the DuPage Community Foundation, SCARCE, the University of Illinois Extension and Benedictine University.
The event is free and open to the public.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education
recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes
magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business
as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.