Fracking, gulf ‘dead zone’ among water conference topics

LITTLE ROCK – The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico and fracking are on the agenda for the Nov. 8 “Water: The Choices: Water Law and Policy Conference” being held at the C.A. Vine Arkansas 4-H Center.

The conference keynote speaker is Joseph Dellapenna, law professor at Villanova University, a co-author of “Water and Water Rights,” the standard reference work on water law in the United States.

“The timing and topics of this Water Law and Policy Conference are extraordinary. The drought of 2012 underscores the importance of the state’s water resource,” said Tom Riley, director of the Public Policy Center of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“Led by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, we have begun the process of updating the “State Water Plan”; natural gas exploration and hydrofracking have introduced new water demand and quality concerns; irrigation projects and rural water development gained in urgency; all while the questions of rights and use priorities became more complicated, especially in Riparian Law states,” Riley said. “If you are interested in Arkansas’ water future, this conference is the place to be.”

The conference, sponsored by the Public Policy Center and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law, runs from 8 a.m.-4:15 p.m. The center is located at 1 Four H Way in Ferndale. The cost to attend is $55 and $20 for students. Lunch is included.

People can register online at For more information, contact Kristin Higgins at 501-671-2160.

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The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.