OSU hosts state groundwater conference for second year, promoting crucial industry
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
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Oklahoma State University welcomed more than 200 groundwater professionals to Stillwater on Jan. 4 and 5 for the annual Oklahoma Ground Water Association (OGWA) Conference and Trade Show.
This was the second year OSU hosted the event, which provides continuing education opportunities and a chance for attendees to connect on Oklahoma groundwater issues.
“The OGWA Conference and Trade Show facilitates conversations between professionals at every level of our industry,” said Josh McClintock, executive director of OGWA and the event’s organizer. “Oftentimes, the different facets of the industry are siloed between the scientists and engineers, federal and state agency officials, manufacturers and suppliers, and the well drillers and pump installers. Many of the latest developments in the industry come about as a result of direct communication between these different sectors.”
The event included opening remarks from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) McEllhiney Lecturer Fred Rothauge; seminars on groundwater topics ranging from rig safety to submersibles to business management; and a workshop at OSU’s Gary F. Stewart Core Research Facility led by professors Jim Puckette and Yulun Wang.
With OSU’s ongoing groundwater research within the Boone Pickens School of Geology and its recent partnership with the national organization — NGWA University Powered by OSU — McClintock and OGWA President David Correll said choosing to have the event in Stillwater was obvious.
“Our industry is facing a massive deficit of trained professionals, and NGWAU’s work aims to fill the gap by making the needed educational tools readily available,” Correll said. “The OGWA believes NGWAU Powered by OSU will enrich and elevate the lives of those who enter the groundwater industry for years to come.”
Correll explained that groundwater research and professional opportunities impact everyone — regardless of field — as safe, sustainable water is vital for agriculture, industry and human life.
“It’s common between industry professionals to lightheartedly joke that most folks only know that they turn on their tap and water always flows out,” Correll said. “But a lot of hard work, education and experience is involved in making that tap flow. There is an excellent group of professionals working tirelessly in this state to provide our citizens with clean water today, tomorrow and forever.”
Building on Correll’s remarks, McClintock added that “the very foundation of that basic service we’ve all come to rely on — drinkable water — are the interactions that take place at events like ours.”
“This is where issues and concerns are discussed, and those discussions kick off the domino effect across the industry that make it possible for everyone else to continue turning on their taps and taking for granted that our most precious natural resource will continue to flow,” McClintock said.