Public service is an important and ongoing component of the Nebraska Water Center's mission. Getting information to the public is vital to the Nebraska Water Center's public outreach and is accomplished many ways - by partnering and maintaining liaisons with federal, state, regional and local water organizations and individuals, by regularly giving presentations on water-related issues and through other on-going activities such as the annual Water Conference.

Brief History

Shortly after appointment as Chancellor of the University of Nebraska (title was changed to President in 1971), Dr. Durward B. Varner noted that Nebraska's water resources represented one of its greatest opportunities for growth and development.

On October 28, 1971, he sent letters to 39 people, selected from various public and private agencies, organizations and interests, asking them to serve as a planning committee to arrange for what he called a "Nebraska Water Resources and Irrigation Development Seminar for the 1970s." All 39 accepted his invitation and the group met for the first time in 1971 and planned the first of what would become the annual Nebraska Water Conference.

At the end of the 1972 seminar, Varner appointed a 25-member Nebraska Water Conference Committee (later a Council) to:

  1. Plan future annual conferences under the title "Nebraska Water Conference"
  2. Deal with issues pertaining to irrigation development and to work toward reaching the potential of the state's water and land resources.

Over the years, the Council has been coordinated by the Nebraska Water Center and continued developing annual Nebraska Water Conferences.

In 2000, collaboration began among the Nebraska Water Center; the UNL College of Law and other UNL departments to sponsor an annual Water Law, Policy and Science Conference. It is a hybrid of the former Nebraska Water Conferences and national water resources conferences sponsored by the Nebraska Water Center in the 1970s. The first of this series of conferences was held in 2004.

The Conferences

JB Milliken opens the 2009 WLPS

Opening of the 2009 WLPS

Conference Contacts

Lorrie Benson
General Conference Questions
Nebraska Water Center
524 Hardin Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska 68583-0979
Voice 402-472-7372
Fax 402-472-3610
Email Lorrie

Steve Ress
Communications and Media
Nebraska Water Center
506 Hardin Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska 68583-0979
Voice 402-472-9549
Fax 402-472-3610
Email Steve

Jacki Loomis
Registration Questions
School of Natural Resources
121A Hardin Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska 68583-0991
Voice 402-472-7550
Fax 402-472-4608
Email Jacki


Text is from 'History of the UNL Nebraska Water Center, from 1964 to 2008', School of Natural Resources: Karen E. Stork and Steven W. Ress.