Campus News 2009

For Immediate Release
October 30, 2009

Third annual water symposium series starts Nov. 12

The first symposium in the annual series of symposia dealing with the issues of water use and conservation in Texas will be Thursday, Nov. 12 at the University of Texas-San Antonio campus. The symposium will start at 7 p.m. in the University Room of the campus business building. A panel moderated by Dr. Robert E. Mace, deputy executive administrator, Water Science and Conservation at the Texas Water Development Board, will discuss “Our Limited Groundwater Supply: Whose Desired Future Conditions Are We Planning For?” Panel members will be Mary Ellen Summerlin, at-large representative on the board of Headwaters Groundwater Conservation District, Kerr County; Dr. Weldon Hammond, director of the UTSA Center for Water Research; and attorney Gregory M. Ellis, Executive Director, Texas Alliance of Groundwater Conservation Districts.

Dr. Robert E. Mace has a B.S. in geophysics and an M.S. in hydrology from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and a Ph.D. in hydrogeology from The University of Texas at Austin. He worked eight years as a staff hydrogeologist at the Bureau of Economic Geology before joining the Texas Water Development Board in the summer of 1999.

Mary Ellen Summerlin is serving her second term on the HGCD board, having previously served in the Precinct 2 position and serving in the at-large position since 2008. She has a BA from Abilene Christian College (now University), and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. When the legislature established the regional groundwater management areas in 2005, she was president of the HGCD board and met with other Groundwater Management Area 9 district presidents to begin establishing the desired future conditions for local aquifers. She has served as HGCD designated representative ever since.

Dr. Hammond holds the Amy and V.K. McNutt Distinguished Professorship in Hydrogeology at UTSA, where he teaches hydrology and engineering geology courses. He has B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in geology from the University of Texas at Austin. His research has focused on the use of isotopes in hydrologic studies, groundwater resource development in Third World countries and water resource management systems. He has over 35 years experience in water resource studies in the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and South America.

Attorney Gregory Ellis has a long history in water law and water issues. While still in law school in the mid-eighties, he helped clerk the House Natural Resources Committee and worked on a variety of water legislation. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, he worked as legislative liaison for the Texas Water Commission.  In 1992, Ellis moved to Houston to serve as General Council to the Harris-Galveston Coastal Subsidence District, and in 1997 The Edwards Aquifer Authority tapped Ellis as their general manager, a position he held until October 2004 when he left to start his solo law practice. Ellis is executive director of the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts.

The Texas Water Symposium series is sponsored by Schreiner University, Texas Tech University, Hill Country Alliance and Texas Public Radio. The symposia are free and open to the public, and all the water forums are taped and aired on Texas Public Radio. At present, there are two other symposia planned for this year’s series: “Climate Change and Impacts on Floods, Weather and Drought in Texas: What Controversy?” on Jan. 28, 2010, and “Kids, Water, and Science: Perspectives from Our Future,” with a panel of school children, on March 25, 2010.

For more information about the series, check the Web at or contact Bob Hickerson or Dr. Tom Arsuffi at 325-446-2301,  or, or Amy Armstrong at 830-792-7405 or

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