Chamber staff joined more than 500 business and community leaders this week at the Water Forum VIII, hosted by the San Antonio River Authority (SARA). The theme for this year’s event was River Reflections, aimed at highlighting the intrinsic and economic values of rivers and creeks in our community.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and SARA Chairman of the Board Michael Lackey opened the program with remarks highlighting how the San Antonio River has made our city what it is today and how it provides both economic and quality of life benefits that are the envy of cities throughout the world.
The program consisted of a panel of distinguished leaders, including Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Representative Lyle Larson, Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee; Nicole Silk, President of the River Network; and Suzanne Scott, General Manager of SARA. Mayor Nirenberg spoke about how SARA has developed healthier ways to deal with storm water runoff and the importance of maintaining the health of our river. Suzanne Scott touched on the importance of protecting against threats that could erode the river’s water quality, economic development potential and quality of life benefits. She also discussed the city’s resiliency efforts in preparing for a hurricane like Harvey.
During the event, Dr. Andrew Sansom was awarded the 2017 Water for Life Award, which recognizes his water-related substantial and significant contributions to the quality of life in our community. Dr. Sansom is a Research Professor of Geography and Executive Director of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. The award was presented by the 2016 award recipient, Susanne Scott. Previous recipients include Dr. Robert Gully, former Executive Director of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan; Weir Labatt of Old Man Water; Joe Aceves, former CEO of San Antonio Water System; and Mike Beldon, Chair Emeritus of Beldon Enterprises.
This event was timely in that the San Antonio River received the highly coveted Thiess International Riverprize award this past September. This award is the most prestigious in the world and recognizes organizations’ initiatives in sustainable management of the world’s rivers. Previous Riverprize winners include the Rhine River, River Thames, and Danube River. The award will help galvanize support to continue improving the environmental, economic and quality of life aspects of the San Antonio watershed.
The Chamber remains supportive and will continue to promote the San Antonio River as a community asset that provides both economic and quality of life benefits to San Antonio. To learn more about SARA and their inspiring actions for Healthy Creeks and Rivers, click here.