Keynote speaker raises eyebrows at SonTek/YSI Users Forum in Barcelona

From transparent rivers of Nepal to gritty flows of the Australian outback, multi-disciplined areas of hydrology were represented at SonTek/YSI's 2007 International Water Resources Forum -- Jan. 24-26 in Spain. With over 100 delegates, nearly three dozen non-partisan users of acoustic Doppler technology presented challenges facing their varied geographies, identifying common threads to finding a technological "fit" in measuring water flow in complex and challenging outdoor conditions...

January event educates, highlights global water issues

SAN DIEGO, CA, Feb. 14, 2007 -- From the transparent rivers of Nepal to the gritty flows of the Australian outback, multi-disciplined areas of hydrology were represented at SonTek/YSI's 2007 International Water Resources Forum, held Jan. 24-26 in Barcelona, Spain.

Before an attentive audience of over 100 colleagues in the scientific community, nearly three dozen non-partisan users of acoustic Doppler technology presented on the challenges facing their respective geographies, and in many cases, identified a common thread when it comes to finding the right technological "fit" when measuring water flow in complex and challenging outdoor conditions.

According to SonTek/YSI, it doesn't matter where you're from, water issues are on the forefront of the global mind. "There was an extremely high level of passion and energy amongst all the delegates" said Global Business Director, Chris Ward. "There is a sense of urgency that changes need to be made in many monitoring practices. This forum enabled a mechanism for users to compare experiences and facilitate the change process" said Ward.

While many of the presentations highlighted growing developments in respective geographies, it was the address of Keynote Speaker and retired Senior Hydrologist for the UK Environment Agency, Dr. Reginald Herschy, that drew sober attention to what he has termed a "shocking state of affairs" in regards to the decline in world water resource monitoring over the past 10 years.

Dr. Herschy, who is considered one of the most influential contributors to the science of hydrology in the past 30 years, said a decline in the investment into Hydrometric monitoring has left huge gaps in data collected in such (critical) areas such as Africa, China, Russia and India.

"In fact, it is a shocking state of affairs when many countries are reported to be less able to assess their water resources than they were 20 years ago. And this is in spite of the fact that demand for water is rising more rapidly than at any time in history" said Herschy.

He also spoke on the topic of international water rights and the difficulties of managing transboundary rivers, especially where water scarcity is an issue for countries located downstream.

"Measurement of river flow to international standards in these circumstances is crucial to international agreements. However it is clear that there are not sufficient streamflow stations to meet these demands" said Herschy.

On the topic of global warming, Herschy said without long term, reliable streamflow and rainfall benchmarks available, climate changes are difficult to quantify.

"The effect of possible global warming and consequent climate change on the components of the water cycle is not yet proven ... an improved understanding of this variable is essential if signals associated with global warming are to be detected and quantified" said Herschy.

Additional organizations represented at the conference include the Catalan Water Agency, the US Geological Survey, the South Africa Dept. of Water Affairs, the Environmental Agency of Italy, Graz University (Austria), the Thailand Royal Irrigation Dept., the Lower Colorado River Authority (US), the Izmir Institute of Technology (Turkey) and more.

A copy of Dr. Herschy's paper, as well as papers shared by other presenters can be requested through email to cdelfin@sontek.com. A complete list of presentation topics can be found on SonTek/YSI's website (www.sontek.com)

The forum was also sponsored in part by Qualitas Instruments, Spain.

San Diego-based SonTek/YSI, founded in 1992 and advancing environmental science in over 100 countries, manufactures affordable, reliable acoustic Doppler instrumentation for water velocity measurement in oceans, rivers, lakes, harbors, estuaries, and laboratories. SonTek/YSI is headquartered in San Diego, California, and is part of YSI Inc. (www.ysi.com), an employee owned company that provides monitoring and data collection instrumentation to global water quality, water quantity, and aquaculture markets.

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