A record attendance of over 225 people descended upon Morgantown October 6 and 7 for the 2010 West Virginia Water Conference. The annual event was hosted by the West Virginia Water Research Institute and the United States Geological Survey and took place at the Waterfront Place Hotel.
The conference was highlighted by several special guest speakers sharing their expertise and perspectives on various topics. Attendees were welcomed to the conference by Morgantown Mayor, Bill Byrne, while West Virginia University President, Dr. James P. Clements, introduced Keynote Speaker Congressman Alan Mollohan. The Congressman reflected on many of the important water related issues he has been involved with during his 28 years representing the First Congressional District in West Virginia. He commented on the importance of these resources to the State's economy and future. He also stressed the importance of West Virginia University and its role in increasing our understanding of our water resources and the work being done to find solutions to the many challenges we face in protecting them while allowing our economy to flourish.
The Chief Scientist for Hydrology at the US Geological Survey, Jarred Bales, presented on Water Information for West Virginia and the Nation. Author and Ecologist George Constantz presented Hollows, Peepers and Highlanders: An Appalachian Ecology during a special lunchtime slide show. Over 50 researchers were also able to share in the work that they are doing to learn more about our water resources and how to protect and restore them.
For the first time, a student debate took place at the conference pitting the Alderson Broaddus College Debate Team against Shepherd University. Should West Virginia have regulations regarding water withdrawals for Gas Well drilling was the resolution debated. The students, who were given one month to compose both affirmative and negative arguments, conducted a lively and entertaining debate. The Parliamentary style of debate encouraged those in attendance to cheer and jeer as they were moved by the arguments made by the competitors. Congratulations to Derek Brown and the Alderson Broaddus team, arguing the affirmative, for presenting the most compelling argument convincing the 6 judge panel.
The West Virginia Water Research Institute is extremely grateful to the many individuals, companies, agencies and organizations that helped to make this year's event the success it was.