Linda Hall Library to Host Virtual Conference


Media Contact: Elaina Boudreau

Linda Hall Library to Host Virtual Conference:

Water: Access, Supply and Sustainability on October 27, 28 & 29

Conference explores global-to-local issues—and innovative solutions—to secure the future of the most
essential element to life in Kansas City, the Midwest, communities across U.S.—and around the globe

Virtual conference is free and open to the public; registration required

Kansas City, MO (October 14, 2020) — The Linda Hall Library, an independently funded research library dedicated to science, engineering and technology, announces its biennial science conference: Water: Access, Supply and Sustainability on October 27-29.

The virtual conference invites participants to embark on a global-to-local exploration of complex water-related issues of vital importance to Kansas City, the Midwest, communities across the U.S. — and around the world. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required (advance access to conference resources and videos now available at

“Sustainable access to clean water is a basic human right,” said Lisa Browar, president of the Linda Hall Library. “The conference offers a unique, interdisciplinary opportunity to engage everyone — from scientists, city leaders and citizens to environmentalists, city planners and business leaders —  to explore the critical challenges  — and innovative solutions — to help secure the future of water, the most essential element to our lives.”

“We see rivers running dry, wetlands disappearing, groundwater being depleted and more intense draughts, storms, floods and wildfires,” said Sandra Postel, the conference keynote speaker, co-creator of Change the Course, and author of Replenish: The Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity. “How can we live healthy, productive lives while also sustaining the ecosystems that support our economy — and the rest of life on the planet? That’s the challenge. And we can be part of the solution. But we don’t have time to waste.”

Moderated by world-renowned oceanographer, Dr. David Gallo, the Water: Access, Supply and Sustainability conference will feature a distinguished and diverse lineup of speakers —scientists and engineers, nonprofit and community leaders, policymakers, business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Session 1 (Live Panel Discussion)
EQUITY & ACCESS: Diverse Communities and the Challenges of Infrastructure
Tuesday, October 27, 7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. CT  (via Zoom)

From Flint, Michigan’s contaminated water crisis and lack of running water in Native American households to efforts to deliver clean water to a global population, expert panelists will highlight obstacles to equitable water access and how communities are working to address them.

Dr. Siddhartha “Sid” Roy,served as communications director of Virginia Tech’s Flint Water Research Team, which led a scientific and humanitarian battle to uncover environmental injustice and a public health crisis.

Gary White, Co-founder and CEO of and, leads these organizations to create and execute market-driven solutions to the global water crisis.

Emma Robbins, Director of the Navajo Water Project, which provides infrastructure that helps Navajo families access clean water in New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.

Tracy Streeter, former director of the Kansas City Water Office, joined Burns & McDonnell in 2018 in a new role to provide support to water resource agencies and municipalities with public water utilities.

Session 2 (Live Panel Discussion)
ECONOMICS & ENGINEERING: Water Systems that Sustain the Heartland
Wednesday, October 28, 7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. CT (via Zoom)

Management of natural waterways, such as the Missouri River,  has often been a struggle as engineers, policy makers, and citizens balance commerce, public health, and natural resource conservation. Panelists discuss how water management has shaped our past — and what the future holds for a river at the heart of the Heartland.

Terry Leeds,Director of Kansas City Water Services, is a civil engineer with 28 years’ experience in the water industry.

Jon Stephens, President and CEO of Port KC, an organization that exists to grow the economy of Kansas City through advancing transportation, logistics and revitalization

Amahia MalleaAssociate Professor of History at Drake University, is an environmental historian and author of A River in the City of Fountains: An Environmental History of Kansas City and the Missouri River.

Chance Bitner,Chief of the Hydrology and Hydraulics Section, Kansas City District, US Army Corps of Engineers, serves as the lead engineer for over $500 million of improvements to levees in the Kansas City metropolitan area.


Session 3 (Live Lecture)
STEWARDSHIP & SUSTAINABILITY: Keynote speaker Sandra Postel
Thursday, October 29, 7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. CT (via Zoom)

The conference keynote address will consider our role in water stewardship and how we can sustain our precious freshwater resources for future generations. 

Sandra Postel, Founder and Director of the Global Water Policy Project, is a leading authority on international water issues and co-creator of Change the Course, a national water initiative awarded the US Water Prize for restoring billions of gallons of water to depleted rivers and wetlands. Postel is the author of Replenish: The Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity; Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last?; and Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity.

For more information about Linda Hall Library’s biennial conference – Water: Access, Supply and Sustainability — or to register, visit


As a world renowned independently-funded research library, the Linda Hall Library, located in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri, is dedicated to science, engineering and technology. Through our collections, programming, and cultural partnerships, the Linda Hall Library brings science to life in new and relevant ways that demonstrate the intersection of science and modern life. To learn more, visit