SIU grad student shows how Illinois can help solve water crisis - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

SIU grad student shows how Illinois can help solve water crisis

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CARBONDALE -- The lack of clean water poses a problem for many, but a new report from SIU says Illinois is in a prime position to help.

"There's going to be whole cities, whole cosmopolitan centers, that by the middle of next century have essentially run out of fresh water," Melinda Yeomans, associate director of the SIU Honors Program, said. "There are places on the globe right now that are already struggling."

Yeomans helped organized a discussion on the Future of Water at SIU on Wednesday.

The discussion focuses on Kara Lawrence's work. She's a grad student at SIU and a Celia Howard Fellow at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

"I knew that (late senator) Paul Simon had a strong legacy in water and I knew that he cared about the plight and suffering of those in developing countries," Lawrence said. "And one way he felt like he could address that was by raising awareness to water scarcity."

Lawrence said Illinois has plenty of natural water resources, including several lakes and rivers, but Illinois also has a lot of what's known as "virtual water": commodities like corn and soybeans, anything that takes water to produce.

"We have to have sustainable agricultural practices in Illinois to produce these stable crops which feed the world in the future," Lawrence said.

Lawrence said lawmakers have to keep exporting those crops, along with the knowledge of how to produce clean water.

Other organizations will be at Wednesday's event, including the Marion Medical Mission. They provide clean water to more than four million people in countries lacking the resources, including several in Africa.

The discussion is Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Guyon Auditorium of SIU's Morris Library.

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