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Water Resources Conference History and Past Programs

A Brief History of the Water Resources Conference

The current Minnesota Water Resources Conference was created from the merger in 2005 of two separate water conferences—the Annual Water Resources Conference and the Minnesota Water Conference.

The annual Minnesota Water Resources Conference dates to 1968, when a seminar on flood plain management was held at the University of Minnesota. A similar seminar was held in each of the following years on various water resource topics. These annual one-day events assumed the Annual Water Resources Conference title starting in 1984 and continued under that name through 2004. Sponsorship varied, but most commonly included the Minnesota Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center, and the University of Minnesota College of Continuing Education (now CCAPS). One-day pre- or post-conference workshop was also frequently held.

Minnesota Water was held nine times on a biennial basis, in the spring of even-numbered years, from 1988 to 2004. Sponsors varied over time, but the event was always led by the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center. Minnesota Water was meant to reach a somewhat broader audience than the Annual Water Resources Conference and usually included nationally known speakers.

In 2005, the two conferences were combined and renamed Minnesota Water 2005 and Annual Water Resources Joint Conference. Beginning in 2007, the conference title was shortened to the Minnesota Water Resources Conference. In 2005–2006, the conference was held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center; starting in 2008, the conference moved to its current location at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. All conferences since 2005 have been two-day events held in mid- to late-October. Registration has grown steadily, exceeding 800 participants in 2018. Exhibitors have been invited to the conference since 2014, adding 25–32 participants each year.

Story Collection

Thanks to the efforts of many in the water resources community, we have been able to assemble a complete historical collection of conference brochures from the separate conferences as well as the current Minnesota Water Resources Conference. Like any other scientific collection, there are insights to be gleaned from these brochures. How have critical water issues changed over time? How have policies and approaches changed? Has the slate of presenters become more diverse and equitable? It is our hope that the brochure collection will allow present and future water professionals to browse for insights into Minnesota’s evolving water issues and solutions.

Do you have a story about the Minnesota Water Resources Conference to share? We’re collecting your thoughts, stories, and impactful moments as well as your documents and images for a future conference session as well as marketing opportunities. 

Submit your stories online via the Google Form here.

Past Programs

2019 Program and Abstract Booklet

Program, Tuesday, October 15

Program, Wednesday, October 16

2019 Keynotes

Listed below in the order in which they were presented.

Video Welcome from Congresswoman Betty McCollum

Peter Annin: Great Lakes Water Tension in the 21st Century

Don Wyse and Nick Jordan: Forever Green Initiative - Establishing Living Cover Across the Agricultural Landscape to Protect Soil and Water

Kirsti Marohn: Telling Stories About Water

2019 Presentations

Listed below in alphabetical order. Only presentations with permission to post have been listed here.


2018 Program and Abstract

2018 Keynotes

Listed below in the order in which they were presented. 

Ray Archuleta: Healing the Land: One Heart and Mind at a Time

Earl Greene: Water Science Direction and Perspectives of the Water Resources Research Act Program and Water Mission Area, US Geological Survey

Amit Pradhananga, Paul Nelson, Kimberly Musser: Achieving Clean Water Through Relationship Building: A Social Scientist’s Water Restoration and Protection Strategy 

Rosalyn LaPier: Traditional Ecological Knowledge


2018 Presentations

Listed below in alphabetical order. Only presentations with permission to post have been listed here.