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Gov. Gary Herbert Appoints Two USU Scientists to State's Water Team

Thursday, Nov. 07, 2013

USU's Joanna Endter-Wada will serve of the Utah state water team

Joanna Endter-Wada, iUTAH project participant and associate professor in USU's Department of Environment and Society.

USU's Robert Gillies serves on the state of Utah water team

Robert Gillies, state climatologist, director of the USU-based Utah Climate Center and professor in USU's Department of Plants, Soils and Climate.

Gov. Gary Herbert named Utah State University scientists Joanna Endter-Wada and Robert Gillies to Utah’s State Water Strategy Advisory Team, a 38-member group tasked with developing a 50-year water plan for the nation’s “second driest state.”

“We face far-reaching challenges in Utah’s water future,” said Gov. Herbert at the state’s Water Summit held Oct. 31, in Provo, Utah. “From a growing population to drought concerns and funding problems, many complicated and weighty considerations demand we plan and prepare now.”

Endter-Wada is an associate professor of natural resource and environmental policy, water management and planning and human ecology in USU’s Department of Environment and Society in the Quinney College of Natural Resources and the USU Ecology Center. She is a project participant with innovative Urban Transitions and Aridregion Hydro-sustainability, better known as “iUTAH,” a statewide, National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research-funded project based at USU.

“I’m encouraged to see long-term planning for our water future being elevated to Utah’s policy agenda and I’m honored to be asked to serve,” says Endter-Wada, who presented the talk, “How Much Water Do We Need to Survive?” at the Nov. 5 TEDxUSU event.

She says her primary goal as a member of the strategy team is to represent the larger interdisciplinary team of iUTAH researchers from various universities across the state.

“My personal goal is to promote science-based policy and policy-relevant science,” Endter-Wada says. “I look forward to working with the other distinguished members of this team on the important issues involved in managing Utah’s water resources.”

Gillies is a professor of meteorology and geography in USU’s Department of Plants, Soils and Climate in the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences and the USU Ecology Center. He serves as state climatologist and director of the USU-based Utah Climate Center.

In October 2013, Gov. Herbert appointed Gillies to the state’s Clean Air Action Team, a 38-member group assembled to address Utah’s growing air pollution challenges.

The State Water Strategy Advisory Team, coordinated by Envision Utah, a public-private planning coalition formed in 1997, will meet about 10 times during the coming year to evaluate water management strategies, present options for public feedback and develop recommended strategies of the half-century plan.

Related links:

Contact: Joanna Endter-Wada, 435-797-2487,

Contact: Robert Gillies, 435-797-2664,

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

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