"As we enter the 21st Century, we have tremendous competition between different water users for the same water," Pawlow said.

Because of this, he added, conflicts and disputes over water are cropping up nationwide -- even in the traditionally water-rich East.

"Fights about water are in great part about economic development and sustainability," he said.

Pawlow called for more research to find new technology and approaches for water supply and use. And, he said, better planning is needed to assure water quality and supply for the future.

The agriculture and horticulture sectors likely will face helping maintain water quality by controlling or reducing nutrients in the environment and controlling runoff water from irrigation. He said increased enforcement or "activism" is expected regarding water and there may be discussion on "federalizing all waters/wet areas in the nation and regulating land use there."

Because of these pending issues, Pawlow said, a federal-state-local partnership might help people work together to find solutions while balancing the country’s "competing economic, population, environmental and other needs for water."

The Distinguished Floriculture Lecture Series is sponsored by the Texas A&M horticultural sciences department's Ellison Chair in International Floriculture, currently held by Dr. Charlie Hall.