New Nebraska Water For Food Institute Director Is Lecturer

New Nebraska Water For Food Institute Director Is Lecturer

Roberto Lenton will cover issues related to using water more effectively to feed the world's growing population.

Global water and food issues take center stage Feb. 20 when Professor Roberto Lenton, one of the world's foremost water management and development experts, presents the February Heuermann Lecture in the Hardin Hall auditorium, 33rd and Holdrege, on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus.

"Water for Food: Think globally, act locally," is the topic for the 3:30 p.m. public lecture.

Lenton is founding director of the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska. He comes to the university after serving since 2009 as chairman of the independent World Bank Inspection Panel.

"We must continue to have ample and high quality water for human use, and we must use water wisely to grow food to feed the world's growing population," says Ronnie Green, IANR Harlan vice chancellor and moderator of the Heuermann Lectures. "Roberto Lenton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his Heuermann Lecture and to his work as the new executive director of the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute."

Lenton will discuss the world's growing food needs and the growing competition for scarce water resources as he analyzes important trends, emerging challenges and looming threats around the world.

"There is a global interconnectedness of water and food issues," Lenton says "and we need to think both globally and locally to successfully meet the challenges before us.

"For instance -- both globally and in Nebraska--we need to effectively manage our groundwater resources as we face the challenges of increasing water productivity. To do that successfully, we must have solutions specific to our local conditions and needs."

Lenton also will discuss unique contributions the Water for Food Institute can make in addressing local and global water and food issues.

"The University of Nebraska has an outstanding group of faculty and staff with a long track record of addressing water and food security issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives," Lenton adds. "We must draw on all resources across the university engaged in water and food issues to fully capitalize on Nebraska's experience in efficient water use while combining that knowledge and experience with research and practice in other parts of the world. That way we can create synergy that provides collaborative knowledge in which the sum is greater than all of its parts."

With some 40 years of international experience in water resources and sustainable development, Lenton has served as chairman of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and of the Technical Committee of the Global Water Partnership.

He was director of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Division of the United Nations Development Programme in New York, and director general of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Sri Lanka.

Under his leadership, IWMI grew from a small project-based organization to a major institute with more than 300 people in 10 countries and an annual budget that had tripled in size.

Lenton served as program officer in the Rural Poverty and Resources program of the Ford Foundation in New Delhi and New York, co-chaired the United Nations Millennium Project Task Force on Water and Sanitation, and was lead author on that task force's final report, and more.

Heuermann (pronounced Hugh-er-man) Lectures in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UNL focus on meeting the world's growing food and renewable energy needs while sustaining natural resources and rural communities. They are made possible through a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips, long-time university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska's production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.

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