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Snow to open Sustainable Futures conference with talk about water
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The state’s water chief will be the keynote speaker to open California State University, Stanislaus’ third annual Conference for Sustainable Futures.
Lester Snow, who oversees the state’s supply of water as the Director of the California Department of Water Resources, will be discussing the weighty and topical issue of “California Water Issues and Challenges.” The presentation is free and open to the public. It’s scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday in the Flora and Bernell Snider Music Recital Hall.
Snow’s visit comes as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state legislature grapple with a deteriorating water system and an over stretched state budget. The governor and lawmakers met in a marathon meeting over the last weekend. Though no final proposal was put forth, both sides say they were close to reaching a compromise that will modernize and increase the state’s water system.
On Monday, the state’s Democratic lawmakers proposed a plan that would include a mandated 20 percent reduction in water use over the next 10 years; a new council to supervise the restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; and a $9.4 billion bond on the ballot to help pay for it all.
Snow was appointed to his current position in 2004 by Schwarzenegger. The water system he oversees provides a supplemental water source for 23 million Californians and 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland.
The three-day Conference for Sustainable Futures, hosted by the College of Humanities & Social Sciences as part of an effort to prepare the future workforce for a green economy, will include morning and afternoon sessions in Room 130 of the Mary Stuart Rogers Building. The Bioneers Conference, a forum of social and scientific innovators, will be featured via live morning satellite feeds from San Rafael. Afternoon sessions will be devoted to presentations and discussions featuring local individuals, such as Gustine farmer Bill Nunes, who are involved in sustainable economic and community development and farming.
Award-winning filmmaker Christopher Beaver, who directed the environmental documentary “Tale of the San Joaquin” and is working on a new film project about the Tuolumne River, will be the keynote speaker at 6:45 p.m. Friday, following a 5 p.m. reception in Room 130 of the Mary Stuart Rogers Building.  
Friday’s activities start with a Sustainability Fair featuring a variety of booths from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the back entrance of the MSR Building on campus.
Environmental films will be featured at 7 p.m. Saturday during a Wild and Scenic Film Festival in MSR 130.
Tickets are $20 for the three-day conference. Advance registration and information is available online at
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.