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PUT AWAY YOUR TOYS: Sunday brought perfect weather for hot-air ballooning over the Old Mendon Highway -- but when it's over, you still have to pack up. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

Monday, October 30, 2006

"Of all the unhappy trends I have witnessed -- conservative swings on television networks, dwindling newspaper circulation, the jailing of reporters and "spin" -- nothing is more troubling to me than the obsequious press during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. They lapped up everything the Pentagon and White House could dish out--no questions asked."

--Helen Thomas, "dean" of the White House press corps, 2006

Water wise for 40 years and going strong

Water is a key factor in life in the arid West and since Utah State University’s beginning in 1888, water has been a key research focus. When the university dedicated its new Utah Water Research Laboratory in December of 1965, USU took its place as one of the world’s leading water research universities in the nation.

In 2006, as the UWRL celebrates its 40th birthday, the lab works on nearly 250 water-related projects a year and has an annual budget nearing $10 million. With projects in all of Utah’s 29 counties and more than 40 countries, the lab has become one of the go-to places that addresses the technical and societal aspects of water-related issues, including quality, quantity and distribution of water.

Located on the Logan River at the mouth of Logan Canyon, the UWRL was one of the first water labs in the nation and, according to Director Mac McKee, it is the most diverse.

“Our work makes an impact, not only here in Utah, but around the world,” said McKee. “We offer such a diverse range of services that we are able to help people in all facets of life. But there is no greater satisfaction than working in a remote village and seeing a smile on someone’s face as they receive water from a tap for the first time.”

In Utah, researchers from the UWRL are working on water management projects in the Virgin River Basin and Sevier River. Researchers are also looking to help solve Utah’s air quality problems. The lab sends water experts on-location to countries around the world in need of water expertise, and many people travel to the Logan facility for training on dam safety and hydraulics.

“Because of our unique location, we are able to divert the entire Logan River right through our building to study hydraulics,” said McKee.

The water lab was the vision Dean F. Peterson, dean of the College of Engineering in the late 1950s and George Dewey Clyde, former governor of Utah. Clyde supported the idea for the water lab and, according to Peterson, made the enterprise possible. In his honor the UWRL is housed in the George Dewey Clyde building.

The lab is part of USU’s College of Engineering and offers services in natural systems engineering, air quality analysis, water and science education, environmental management, hydraulics, surface water hydrology, hazardous and toxic waste remediation, public lands planning and management , on-site wastewater treatment training, water quality engineering, dam safety risk management and water resources planning and management.

For more information about the UWRL, visit


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