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If Water Conference held at IdeaFestival

Friday September 7, 2012

IF Water Conference to be Held in Conjunction with IdeaFestival

Louisville, KY (August 27, 2012) – What if Louisville could become the water capitol of the world – a place where innovation sparks solutions to solve water issues?

WaterStep, a nonprofit organization that works to save lives at risk from waterborne illness around the world, along with support from Louisville Water will host the first annual IF Water Conference, which will be held on Tuesday, September 18th from 9:00am-3:00pm at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in conjunction with the IdeaFestival. Participants will explore fascinating questions and ideas centered on the Earth's most powerful and precious resource - water. Tickets are $40 and $15 for students, and include lunch. Visit to purchase tickets and get more information.

The speaker line-up includes:

- Keynote Speaker: Gill Holland, Independent film producer and co-developer of The Green Building – In August 2012, the U.S. Agriculture Department declared 116 of Kentucky’s 120 counties as drought disaster areas. Gill’s presentation will focus on what we can learn from the drought.

- Megan Casey, Global Studies Student at JCC originally from Iraq - Growing up in Iraq, Megan experienced serious water problems firsthand. Her mother was one of the hundreds of women who traveled miles every day searching for a source of water, but how much can one woman carry across miles through cold and heat? Megan will describe a true scenario about how her family accessed water to survive.

- Greg Heitzman, President/CEO of the Louisville Water Company – Much of the water innovation that is used every day to provide safe drinking water started at Louisville Water Company. Greg will share the ideas that sparked the innovation, and Engineer Kay Ball will describe the Riverbank Filtration Project that was named the "best civil engineering project in the world" by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

- Steven Greseth, Infrastructure and Management Consultant for Ohio River Projects - The Ohio River Falls, a waterfall cascade with one million gallons per second crashing down, is the reason that Louisville, Kentucky, Clarksville, Jeffersonville, and New Albany, Indiana exist where they do today. Steve’s presentation will explore a series of questions centered around the idea of redesigning the locks to expose The Falls of the Ohio: what are the economic benefits of revealing America’s largest waterfall in the center of Louisville, a major metropolitan area? What compelling stories of our culture and heritage could we share with each other and with visitors? What would it cost to restore Ohio Falls, and how long would it take?

- Mark Hogg, Founder and CEO of WaterStep - Mark has taken WaterStep to the forefront of disaster relief efforts and provided safe drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people in more than 23 countries. Access to safe water is the greatest problem on the planet, but Mark will paint a picture of a world where ordinary people in developing countries can take care of their own water supply. Utilizing mobile portals to access technology and water training will reshape how people have been helping others in the water crisis. The valve to a water information highway, exponential health impacts, and stronger economies for the developing world is being opened from Louisville, Kentucky.

- Gregory Luhan, Associate Dean for Research at University of Kentucky - Could Louisville be the Water Capitol of the world? Yes! The city’s rich history in water innovation and its location on the banks of the Ohio River are the focus of a year-long effort by the University of Kentucky College of Design and Louisville Water Company. Gregory will share the vision and model of a “Water Innovation Center” that could bring together the entire cycle of water.

The public is invited to visit the IF Water tent located at the Main Street entrance to the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, September 18th from 12:00-4:00pm, and on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon-2:00pm to watch free, live demonstrations and engage in conversations about WaterStep's work. A team of GE engineers and volunteers will work to assemble WaterStep's M-100 Chlorine Generator and demonstrate the simple technology behind what enables the M-100 to provide 10,000 gallons of safe drinking water in a 24-hour period. The M-100 is one of WaterStep's most valuable tools in fighting the world water crisis.

For more information, call (502) 568-6342 or visit

About IdeaFestival

Founded in 2000, IdeaFestival is a celebration for creative thinkers and the intellectually curious. It’s an eclectic network of global thinkers and one-of-a-kind innovators bound together by an intense curiosity about what is impacting and shaping the future of the arts, business, technology, design, science, philosophy and education.

The conference is held every fall in Louisville, Kentucky at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. Please visit for more information. Follow us @ideafestival and #IF12

About WaterStep

WaterStep is a Louisville-based 501(c)(3) organization that provides solutions to the root causes of waterborne illness through an approach that combines unparalleled training and readily-available technology to empower self-sufficiency for people in crisis around the world. WaterStep is currently working to establish training centers in India, Costa Rica, and Haiti. To learn more, call (502) 568-6342 or visit