Water shortage scholar to speak at UVa-Wise on April 24


R. Gary Pumphrey, associate professor of geography at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, will speak on aquifer depletion on the campus of UVa-Wise on Thursday, April 24.


The lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m., in the Leonard J. Sandridge Science Center lecture hall.  The title of his talk is “The Ogallala Aquifer:  Agriculture, Ethanol, Municipalities, and Groundwater Depletion—A Formula For Disaster.”


To support his work, Pumphrey has won numerous grants and fellowships to include a National Science Foundation grant that funded his aquifer research for three years and in 2011 he was awarded the U.S. Department of Agriculture Project of Excellence Award.


Lingering drought, increased irrigation usage for agriculture, increased municipal population, along with mining of the groundwater, the Ogallala Aquifer is being stretched to its limits.  What happens to cities in the West when water shortages become commonplace?  What will happen to these millions of people potentially displaced by the encroaching desert? Will pipelines in the future carry groundwater from Canada rather than oil?  Where do we grow our wheat and corn when the Ogallala Aquifer is depleted?  Is ethanol the key to our energy future or the fastest way to deplete groundwater reserves?  These are questions that we in Appalachia are tempted to ignore, but the future will force us to adjust to water shortages, even in places where plenty of rain falls.


This program is presented by the College Lecture Committee in cooperation with the Center for Appalachian Studies and is open to the public.  Call Brian McKnight at 276-376-4574 or email bdm2e@uvawise.edu with any questions.