August 8, 2008



Chuck Tooley, Urban Institute, 896-5862
Christine Pierce, World Water Network, 672-3636
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — With the Yellowstone River running through the heart of Billings, there is a constant, flowing reminder of the importance of water in our daily lives. That daily importance, on a local and global scale, will be the focus of a two-day conference in September being coordinated by Montana State University Billings.


Sponsored by the MSU Billings Urban Institute, the two-day Billings Water Forum is set for Sept. 25-26 at the MSU Billings main campus, 1500 University Drive.

Img-water.jpg Chuck Tooley, director of the MSU Billings Urban Institute, and Christine Pierce, who works with the World Water Network and is helping coordinate the forum, said that this event is an opportunity for people of Billings and the region to not only become more aware of local and global water issues, but find out what do to about those issues. 


“We want to provide solutions to challenges that we face,” said Tooley.

A former mayor Billings, Tooley understands the issues related to water supply in an urban setting. One of his goals for the Urban Institute, he said, is to provide a platform to bring the best minds together to work on such issues.


Pierce said the forum will serve as an opportunity for people to connect with others about water projects in different parts of the world, find ways to ensure water quality and learn about conservation efforts, especially in areas of the country that are prone to drought.


“We hear frequently that water is the next oil,” Pierce said. “If we really did run out of oil, what would that look like? If we run out of water, what would that look like?”


She and Tooley pointed out that lack of clean, usable water is the single largest cause of death for children in many parts of the world.

The Billings Water Forum will include speakers, exhibits, demonstrations, books and a keynote address by Maude Barlow, author of “Blue Gold,” a 2002 bestseller about the growing international water crisis, and most recently of “Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Fight for the Right to Water.” Her “Blue Gold” has been reprinted in 16 languages and is available in 47 countries around the world.


The forum will also include a screening of the film “Flow,” an independent film about water shortages that are plaguing parts of the world.


For more information or to get involved in the Water Forum, contact Tooley at the MSU Billings Urban Institute at 896-5862 or via email at or contact Christine Pierce, World Water Network, at 672-3636 or via email at .