Relying on Groundwater

More than 150 million people in the United States rely on groundwater for their drinking water. By the year 2050, there will be 100 million more people living in America. In addition to being a vital source for drinking water, groundwater plays a crucial role for American agriculture, mining and manufacturing industries. Each one of us has a role and a responsibility when it comes to ensuring that groundwater resources will be available for future generations, and a group of Salina natives have become personally invested in making this happen.

“I got involved when my lifetime friend, and attorney, Todd Peterson asked me if I wanted to be part of solving world water problems by bringing seawater onto land.  Knowing nothing about this, but certainly understanding that the world was in a major water crisis, I agreed to join the cause,” said Danna Burns-Shaw. “We formed a nonprofit organization, International Water Holdings Corporation. Three of the five members of the board were raised in Salina. Todd’s brother Ron Peterson now lives in Elsinore and Todd lives in Greenwich Connecticut. Also on the board is Heather Potters from Denver, and Andrea Neal PhD from Ojai California.”

The goal of International Water Holdings Corporation is to address global water issues, primarily (at this point) by bringing ocean water onto land, and by working with all kinds of technologies and innovations to help make that happen (desalination, water filtration, waste-to-energy plants and more). 

“We are planning at least monthly conferences to help bring interested individuals together to put together all the pieces necessary for everyone possible to benefit by what we are working to do,” said Burns-Shaw.  “We are aiming to increase the water supply, and to move beyond a world where those with power take water from those with less power. This may sound huge, but in fact our plans also have beneficial spillover effects for global warming, the development of local communities, rising sea levels, international cooperation, climate change, job creation, environmental issues and more.”

She said their initial goal is to address as many water issues as they can relating to the Colorado River Basin, as soon as possible.  Together with their partners the group has already made progress in California, Baja California, Utah and Nevada. 

“We are also currently looking at similar issues in northern California, the Ogallala acquifer and Texas.  Ethiopia is also clearly on our radar,” she said.

She said their flagship conference will be at South Point Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas on July 20 and 21 and a second conference will be at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on August 24 and 25.  They are now working on a September conference to be held in San Diego California, and Denver Colorado after that.

              At this month’s conference, the group plans to focus on bringing ocean water onto land for the purpose of revitalizing the Colorado River Basin. She said they understand this is a mammoth undertaking and are well aware of how this should beneficially affect water issues, climate issues, ecological issues and economic issues, as well as others.

“This conference will begin to outline that mammoth undertaking and help to develop the pieces necessary to fully complete the animal,” said Burns-Shaw.

            Everyone is invited to attend, in particular those who are interested in being a part of the solution to the problems that have been created, large and small, specifically relating to water: government officials, financial institutions, engineers, lawyers, accountants, pipe companies, desalination plant managers and operators, real estate companies, agricultural companies, and all others who are able to see this future.

              “We are always looking for like-minded potential partners,” said Burns-Shaw. “The goal of our conferences is to bring the people together who can make those things happen:  locally, state-wide, region-wide, nationally and internationally.  We are fortunate to have a number of meaningful contacts who are increasingly engaged.”

She reiterated that water is life, and a hot topic, with the water crisis getting worse daily and the group has some remarkable projects in the works.

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Lora Fielding

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