Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Ancient Greeks considered these the essentials to support life on earth. And they had a point. From Earth, soils are derived. From Air are provided the gases of respiration. From Fire, our sun-star, Earth is bathed in the energy of life. But only where there is also Water can life, in the words of Dr. Spock, “live long and prosper.” Recently, we completed the 2016 Mississippi Water Security Institute (MS WSI), funded by the Hearin Foundation of Jackson, hosted by the SMBHC, and which I had the pleasure to direct. Our purpose was to introduce honors students to the challenges and complexities of how we use and manage water resources, to meet our present needs and the needs of future generations, because without sustainable water use, neither long life nor prosperity is possible. The 2016 MS WSI involved 16 students from 4 schools in Mississippi: UM, MSU, USM, and JSU. The focus in our first year was on the Mississippi Delta, a place of great importance to the state’s economy but also of striking contrasts – high agricultural production at the expense of enormous resource use; historic biological richness largely diminished; islands of economic prosperity in a sea of poverty; where water is abundant but consumed faster than it is replenished. Over our two week Institute, we investigated the means by which we might use water in this vast region to promote broad economic development, community health, and protect ecosystem health. With so many different demands on our water resources, it is clear that to ensure a water-secure Mississippi some tough decisions will need to be made. Through MS WSI (our “Prime Directive” if you will) we are preparing to contribute wisely to this process. MS WSI will repeat in May 2017 and May 2018 with planned regional foci being the Jackson metropolitan area, and coastal Mississippi. I encourage interested students to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, Mississippi Water Security Institute
2017 MS WSI
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