Organizers of the Scottsbluff-Gering United Chamber of Commerce 2020 Water Tour and of the Nebraska Water Center’s (NWC) Water Conference, in consultation with public health experts, have postponed both events until 2021. The Conference was to be held on Aug. 3 at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center (PHREC) in Scottsbluff, followed by the annual Water Tour on Aug. 4 and 5, focusing this year on the Platte River Project.
“It is out of an abundance of caution to protect the health of attendees and presenters that we take this action,” said Nebraska Water Center Director Dr. Chittaranjan Ray.
An annual event, the Water Center Conference routinely draws crowds of 200-300 people, and expectations were for high attendance of this year’s rebooted Water Tour that was to include a changed format and interactive multi-media devices.
“We had planned on reserving two buses in anticipation of a tour group numbering more than 100. Of course, with these types of numbers in combination with the uncertainty of potentially social-distancing directives lasting into the fall, we wanted to make the right decision, and ultimately came to this one,” added Karen Anderson, Executive Director of the Scottsbluff-Gering United Chamber of Commerce.
Sponsors of the tour will be given the option of carrying forward their donation, or requesting a refund, and all parties will be updated on rescheduling as organizers work on the plans for 2021.
The Nebraska Water Center is part of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (DWFI) at the University of Nebraska. DWFI’s annual conference, scheduled for Oct. 7-9 in Lincoln, will feature a wealth of Nebraska-based water and agriculture sessions and speakers. Organizers are tracking public health developments that will determine whether the conference is held in person or virtually.