The past, the present and the future of the Bitterroot Valley all revolve around water.

That was the topic of the day at the 2nd Annual Bitterroot Water Symposium at Hamilton's Bitterroot College UM Friday, April 28.

The sessions included the current knowledge of the Bitterroot Valley drainage, including the Bitterroot River, the associated groundwater and seasonal fluctuations and how that resource can be used in present and improved for the future.

Larry Swanson, director of UM O'Conner Center for the Rocky Mountain West literally flooded the audience with facts and figures about the future growth possibilities of the valley.

Those attending also heard how water was being used in specific agriculture projects and how to protect soil and groundwater.

Closing out the day was a panel discussion about a "water-wise community" and how various public figures view the issues surrounding the current use and the future of water in the area.

Swanson said that he didn't know of any other community in the state that is bringing together such expertise for a conference dedicated to water issues.

Larry Swanson at the symposium. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)[/caption]