Water is lifeĀ“s most precious resource. And while it is everywhere, useable freshwater is a relatively scarce commodity spawning generations of conflict.

Experts gathered at Connecticut College April 3 and 4, 2009, for "Water Scarcity and Conflict," the Elizabeth Babbott Conant Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment. Lectures and discussions examined the root causes of conflicts over water use, assess weaknesses in the current physical and political infrastructure and suggest ways in which water can be used in a more sustainable manner.

A highlight of the conference was a keynote lecture by Amy Vickers, president of Amy Vickers and Associates Inc., an international consulting practice specializing in water conservation, and author of the Benjamin Franklin Award-winning book, "Water Use and Conservation." Vickers gave a talk titled, "Water Use and Abuse: Innovations in Conservation."

Conference participants, including students, scholars and professionals from off-campus, heard from 13 additional expert speakers, including Peter Gleick, a leading expert on the sustainable use of water and co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute, a nonpartisan research institute in Oakland.

Read the presenters' biographies and view videos and descriptions of the talks.

"Water Scarcity and Conflict" was sponsored by the Goodwin-Niering Center and co-sponsored by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Elizabeth Babbott Conant Symposium Fund, the Marjorie Dilley Lecture Fund, the Jean Thomas Lambert Environmental Lecture Fund, the Beaver Brook Foundation, the Connecticut Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Connecticut Institute of Water Resources and Rivers Alliance of Connecticut.