Everyone agrees, if things don’t radically change, the population of Texas will likely double over the next 50 years. That means more space for urban areas, less property for agriculture. It also means a much greater demand for water at a time, mind you, when there is less water -- much less. And it means more demand for food and fiber, which we can’t grow without more water.

Or perhaps we can.

If agriculture -- in its many forms -- is going to remain the foundation of Texas’ economy, researchers and scientists tell us we must learn to do more with less in the face of uncertain water supplies.

That’s the theme of this year’s Texas Ag Water Forum scheduled at the Sheraton Austin Feb. 25.

The one-day forum is designed to bring agricultural producers, researchers and experts together with government and water district authorities and commercial stakeholders in a comprehensive action-oriented forum designed to aggressively address the multitude of complex water issues Texas faces in 21st century.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner ToddStaples will deliver the 2013 Texas Ag Water Forum keynote presentation at noon on "Ag Water & Texas Food Security," and Texas Rep. Eddie Lucio III is expected to speak about the "Legislative Perspective on Irrigated Agriculture in Texas."

Following opening remarks from Bill West, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, about creating a dialogue on ag water issues will be presentations on “Setting the Stage: Texas Ag Water Facts,” featuring Carolyn Brittin, Executive Deputy Administrator for the Water Resources Planning and Information office of the Texas Water Development Board, who will talk about the 2012 Texas State Water Plan. Also speaking on the topic will be Kevin Wagner, PhD, Associate Director, Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, who will be talking about the status and trends of irrigated agriculture in Texas.

The Texas Project for Ag Water Efficiency, the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation and the 200-12 Project (200 bushels of corn on 12 inches of irrigation water per acre) will be the topic of a presentation titled “Proving the Science: Ag Water Demonstration Projects Across Texas.

A number of panel discussions are on the agenda, including “Crops & Water: The Perspective from the Farm,” moderated by Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune; “Economics of Investing in Ag Water Efficiency & Conservation,” moderated by Kate Galbrath, Texas Tribune, and “The Challenges in Meeting Regional Conservation Goals: Report from the Front Lines,” moderated by Terrence Henry, KUT/Impact Texas.

The Texas Ag Water Forum is made possible by a number of participating entities who will contribute to the program including the El Paso Water Improvement District #1

Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Harlingen Irrigation District, High Plains Underground Water Conservation District, Lower Colorado River Authority, Lower Rio Grande Valley Water District Managers Association, North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District, Rio Grande Regional Water Authority, Texas Irrigation Council, and the Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group.

For more information, contact: www.TexasAgWaterForum.org or 512.477.5445 or 817.821.9372.

Participants from out of town who plan on staying overnight in Austin can take advantage of block room rates at Austin Sheraton by calling 888.627.8349.

Explore Texas ag water resources by following the links below:

Impacts of the Current Drought and Water Policy on Agriculture

Texas Project for Ag Water Efficiency

Texas Alliance for Water Conservation

Status & Trends of Irrigated Agriculture in Texas

Texas Water Development Board