To advance understanding of water issues, a free public forum,Water Issues in the Appalachian Region,will be held Thursday and Friday, Oct. 2-3 at the West Virginia University College of Law. Sessions begin at 1:30 p.m.

West Virginias mountains are the birthplace of major river systems in the Mid-Atlantic states including the Potomac and the Ohio that feed the major metropolises of Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and other Ohio Valley cities. Yet, West Virginia is one of only four of the 31 eastern states that does not have water use laws in place.

We will be addressing technical issues related to water quality and quantity as well as the legal issues regarding water to determine how best to serve the people of the state,said WVU President David C. Hardesty, Jr., who has encouraged study of water issues that increasingly affect the well-being of West Virginians.WVU can make important contributions from both the technical and the legal perspective.

Paul Ziemkiewicz, West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) director, said that West Virginia receives more rain than Seattle, but remains one of the states most undervalued resources.

Issues regarding water rights, water regulation and water for industrial, commercial and residential uses are coming to a head,he said.Thats why the WVWRI is pleased to be sponsoring this important forum and why we are actively engaged with WVU faculty in researching a number of technical issues such as improving water quality in the region.

The first day of the two-day forum will feature lectures by nationally-renowned water law scholars such as Dan Tarlock of Chicago-Kent College of Law, Joseph Dellapena of Villanova University School of Law, Lee Breckenridge of Northeastern University School of Law, and Robert Beck of Southern Illinois University School of Law.

The following day, panelists will debate topics including clean water for human consumption; intrastate water warspersonal versus industrial use; and crossing boundariesinternational and interstate transport and sale of water.

The event, which is co-sponsored by the West Virginia Law Review, WVWRI and the Donley Lecture Series, will conclude with a session on planning for the future, identifying potential West Virginia legislative actions.

Pending state bar approval, 10 continuing legal education hours may be offered. For more information, contact Brandon Kupec, law review executive business director, at 304-293-2301 or visit the link found on the West Virginia Law Review Web site at http://www.wvu.edu/~law/lr/wvalrev.htm .