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UT Austin Hosts Public Discussion on Texas Water with Film Screening and Expert Panel


The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences is hosting “An Evening on Texas Water,” a free, public event exploring the past, present and future of water in Texas.

The event will take place on Friday, April 27, at 6 p.m. at the Austin Scottish Rite Theater and includes a screening of the multi-award winning film “Yakona” with the film score performed by a musical group. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with water experts, policy makers and advocates.

“No resource is more precious than water and the issues surrounding it are diverse and complicated,” said Jackson School Dean Sharon Mosher. “This is a tremendous opportunity to explore those issues in a unique forum.”

The film “Yakona” is a visual exploration of the San Marcos River, which is located about 30 miles south of Austin. It follows the river over space and time, tracing its path from source to sea and its history from prehistoric times to the present. The film raises questions about society’s relationship with water and how humans can manage water to serve diverse demands. The screening will include opening remarks by the film’s co-director Paul Collins and a live performance by the Montopolis classical music group, which composed the original score for the film. “Yakona” is family-friendly, and includes very little spoken dialogue and no narration.

The panel discussion following the screening will focus on water research and policy in Texas and bridge the often disconnected worlds of academic research, public policy, law, environmental regulation and environmental advocacy. A Jackson School graduate student will moderate the discussion.

The panelists are:

  • Robert Mace, Chief Water Policy Officer at the Texas State University Meadows Center for Water and the Environment
  • Vanessa Puig-Williams, Executive Director and General Counsel for the Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association
  • Michael Young, Associate Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology’s Environmental Division.

The Jackson School is a leader in hydrology and hydrogeology research in Texas and around the world. The event is part of the school’s larger mission to help advance public understanding and awareness of the geosciences, a field that has direct impact on society at every level. Sponsors are the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Event Details


6 p.m.—Doors open and light snacks are served. Guests can visit community group information booths.

6:30 p.m.—“Yakona” film screening with live score performance.

8 p.m.—Panel discussion.

Location: Austin Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W 18th St Austin, Texas

Social Media: #LetsTalkAboutWater

For more information, contact: Anton Caputo, Jackson School of Geosciences, 512-232-9623; Monica Kortsha, Jackson School of Geosciences, 512-471-2241