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The Shell Center for Sustainability's mission is to foster an interdisciplinary program of research, outreach, and education to address actions that can be taken to ensure the sustainable development of communities' living standards, interpreted broadly, to encompass all factors affecting the overall quality of life.


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Houston Water Conference

REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED (There is no cost to attend this event)

Program HeaderWill there be enough water for all of us in the next 100 years? What is the current quality of our waterways? How can it improve and why? The Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice University considers these and other questions on water in the upcoming conference “Water in the Houston Metabolism – Houston’s Water Needs and Water Quality for this Century”. National and local experts come together to address questions about water, one of our vital resources, and Houston’s sustainable development, growth, natural environment, water, health, and the policies that can make a difference.

The Shell Center for Sustainability in partnership with the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy’s Science and Technology Policy Program and the Health Policy Forum will host this second annual conference on sustainability in Houston series.

See Program below.



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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rice University

James A. Baker III Hall
Kelly International Conference Facility, Doré Commons, and Farnsworth Pavilion

7:30 – 08:00   Registration and Welcome (Kelly International Conference Facility)

08:00 – 09:40   Water and Houston’s Growth
Setting the context: current and future needs of the growing community

Moderator: Peter Hartley, Ph.D.
George and Cynthia Mitchell Family Chair on Sustainable Development, Rice University

"Policy issues confronting urban water infrastructure in Houston"
Jeff Taebel, Houston Galveston Area Council

"Past records of extreme precipitation influencing water supply for Houston's regional watershed"
Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University

"Present and future water supply for the Houston regional watershed"
Mike Reedy, Freese & Nichols, Inc.

"Projected growth in the Port of Houston and likely impact on Galveston Bay"
Roxana Herrera, Port of Houston Authority 

9:40 – 9:50   Break 

9:50 – 11:35   Houston’s Natural Environment
Water Quality: from the Bayous to Galveston Bay

Moderator: Jeff Taylor
Principal, Freese and Nichols

"Streamflows, bay and estuary flows"
Dr. Paul Montagna, Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

"Links between air and water pollution"
Dr. Robert Griffin, Rice University

"What do we need to do to better monitor water pollution in the Houston/Galveston area?"
Dr. Ken Kramer, Director, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter

"Stormwater and Wastewater"
Alex Van Keuren, Environmental Consultant 

11:35 – 12:40   Lunch and Q&A for the morning sessions (Doré Commons) 

12:40 – 13:00   Lunch Speaker - "Sustainable Water Management",(Doré Commons)
Dr. Pedro Alvarez, George R. Brown Professor of Engineering, Rice University  

13:00 – 14:40   Water and Health (Kelly International Conference Facility)
What do we know about the health consequences of water pollution in Houston?

Moderator: Vivian Ho, Ph.D. 
Chair, Health Policy Forum, James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy

"What is the Public Health definition of drinking water?"
Mark Mikol, TCEQ

"Heavy metal contamination, sources, pathways, and sinks"
Timothy D. Oden, USGS Texas Water Science Center 

"Microbial contamination in the bayous and Galveston Bay"
Dr. George Guillen, Univesity of Houston Clear Lake

"Environmental Assessment and Management of Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care Products and Endocrine Active Compounds"
Dr. Bryan W. Brooks, Environmental Science and Biomedical Studies, Baylor University   

14:40 – 15:40   Afternoon Q&A 

15:40 – 15:50   Break 

15:50 – 17:00   Policy (discussion)
Current and future policy needs to reach full sustainability

Moderator: Suzanne Schwartz
Environmental Program Director, Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution, University of Texas at Austin

"Does water get sufficient attention from local government and regional planners?"
Jace A. Houston, San Jacinto River Authority

"What is the Port Authority of Houston plan for Galveston Bay?"
Roxana Herrera, Port of Houston Authority

"What policies could be implemented to reduce contamination of the bayous and improve public health?"
Dr. Pamela Berger, City of Houston Public Health Engineering and Water Resource Protection

"Charging for water and wastewater treatment - Are current policies appropriate?"
Michael S. Marcotte, P. E., D.WRE, BCEE, City of Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering 

"Are the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act adequate?"
Miguel Flores, EPA Region 6

17:00 – 19:30   Conference Closing Reception and Official Opening - Art Exhibition (Farnsworth Pavilion)
An exhibition  of water-inspired expressions by artists living in the affected area.
  “Water - Effects on Life In the Houston Area”

07:30 – 17:00   Art Exhibition (Farnsworth Pavilion)
The art exhibition will be open to the public from Saturday, October 3 to Thursday, October 29, during regular hours. 

 Artists and Exhibition