Finch named director of Water Conservation and Technology CenterBy Kathy Wythe
Dr. Calvin Finch was recently named the director of the Water Conservation and Technology Center (WCTC) in San Antonio. Administered by the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) in partnership with the Texas Center for Applied Technology (TCAT), the WCTC is developing projects focused on high priority water issues in Texas.
"I look forward to being involved in directing and developing this center," Finch said. "As the 2011 drought has shown, the urgency and importance of water conservation and technology advancement cannot be underestimated or ignored.
"Applied research and education are an essential part of Texas making the state water plan a reality," Finch said. "With the creation of the Water Conservation and Technology Center, the Texas A&M system is stepping forward to play a leadership role in addressing the challenges of having adequate future water supplies for Texas. I am pleased to be a part of that effort."
Neal Wilkins, TWRI director, said Finch has extensive experience in water conservation issues, not only in San Antonio but throughout Texas. "And with the relationships he has developed in his work through the years, Calvin is the ideal person to lead the center in developing and testing innovative water conservation technologies," he said.
"His knowledge and understanding of priority Texas water issues along with his leadership in obtaining numerous grants and projects are assets he will bring to the center," said Cindy Wall, TCAT executive director.
Finch has been involved in Texas water conservation efforts for 22 years, most recently as director of regional initiatives and special programs, director of water resources and director of conservation for the San Antonio Water System (SAWS). He was responsible for obtaining the water resources necessary for meeting the water needs of San Antonio, a community of 1.2 million people growing at the rate of 3 percent per year.
He also directed the system's water conservation education and rebate programs, including the Community Challenge Program that enlisted nonprofits to convert 25,000 high water use toilets to high efficiency toilets a year. He served as SAWS's representative on the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program that recently completed a habitat conservation plan to manage water use from the Edwards Aquifer and protect the endangered species at the Comal and San Marcos Springs.
Finch was formerly county extension director for Travis County and county extension agent for horticulture for Texas Agricultural Extension Service (now the Texas AgriLife Extension Service) for Bexar County.
Finch writes a horticultural and environmental column for the San Antonio Express-News and other suburban newspapers in the San Antonio area and appears frequently in local television and radio broadcasts.
Finch received his doctorate in horticulture from Texas A&M in College Station and his masters in agriculture from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches.
Texas AgriLife Research, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Engineering Experiment Station and Texas A&M University-San Antonio are collaborating on the development of the WCTC.
The center will target its work on four high priority efforts: water conservation, water reuse, groundwater desalination and energy development and water use. Its staff will conduct applied research and development; testing and validation; technology transfer; and training and extension education, Finch said. Currently located at the Texas Engineering Extension Service's South Presa campus in San Antonio, the center will move to the Texas A&M-San Antonio campus in the future.