Rachel Boling Artwork

Artwork by Rachel Boling of Green Hope High School, winner of 2017 art contest.


WRRI Annual Conference
March 14-15, 2018

Jane S. McKimmon Center
1101 Gorman Street
Raleigh, NC 27606

  • Join us for our 20th year!
  • Accepting presentation and session abstracts beginning September 5, 2017.
  • Support the conference with a sponsorship!
  • Help others learn more about you and your organization by exhibiting with us.
  • Opportunities for student engagement.


For 20 years, the WRRI Annual Conference has been the premier conference highlighting diverse topics in water research, management and policy in North Carolina. The conference features oral and poster presentations, themed panel discussions, ample networking opportunities, and hands-on interactive sessions for more in-depth discussions and problem solving related to water resources.

Who Should Attend? We pride ourselves on the cross-disciplinary and cross-sector nature of our conference and encourage attendance from the following: undergraduate and graduate students interested in water-related issues; university and corporate researchers; environmental professionals; non-profit organizations; representatives from local, state and federal government agencies; businesses and industries with a stake in water.

Thank you, Sponsors!

Please consider adding your name to the list of 2018 supporters. See the Sponsors section below.

2018 conference sponsor logos


We are thrilled to once again be partnering with NC State LIVE! to co-host the WRRI annual conference keynote speaker. NC State LIVE’s mission is to connect artists and audiences in a meaningful exploration of the diverse cultures and issues that define our communities and world. This year, they will host three-time Grammy Award-winning Pueblo musician and Native American instrument maker, Robert Mirabal, to present The River, an evening of new music inspired by water and its essential role in life on earth.

In addition to his musical talents, Robert is a traditional Native American farmer with strong ties to and understanding of the importance of water in our landscapes, communities and cultures. He is a renowned storyteller and we look forward to the wisdom and inspiration he shares with us as he helps us to broaden our perspectives and open our minds as we launch into two full days of learning and collaborating at the WRRI conference.

Learn more about Robert here and here.

Robert will perform with the indie-classical quartet ETHEL on March 15th at 8:00 pm at the Talley Student Union on NCSU’s main campus. Ticket information here.



  • Register Here Credit card and check payment options available after completion of online form.

Registration Rates

Walk Up/Late Rates (after 3/9/18, register in-person at the conference registration desk)

  • $275 2-Day Regular Registrant or Current NCWRA Member
  • $225 1-Day Regular Registrant or Current NCWRA Member
  • $60   2-Day Full Time Student
  • $45   1-Day Full Time Student

Early Rates (by 3/9/18)

  • $225 2-Day, Regular Registrant
  • $195 2-Day, Current NCWRA Member
  • $50   2-Day, Full Time Student
  • $350 2-Day, Commercial Exhibitor
  • $250 2-Day, Non-Profit/Government Exhibitor
  • $100 2-Day, Student Group Exibitor
  • $175 1-Day, Regular Registrant
  • $150 1-Day, Current NCWRA Member
  • $35   1-Day, Full Time Student

Registration Policies

  • Cancellations received by March 5, 2018 will receive a refund less a $15 processing fee.
  • *Early rates apply to registrations received by Friday, March 9, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. After 12:00 p.m. on March 9, 2018, walk up rates apply to all registrants.
  • **Not an NCWRA Member? Join when you register and automatically receive the member discount.
  • ***Student group exhibitor rates include attendance for 2 student representatives.
  • Exhibitors must register by the early registration deadline in order to guarantee space.

Student Engagement

WRRI values students and seeks to create special opportunities for engagement of students and young professionals during the conference. This year, we offer the following opportunities to engage. While geared to students, recent graduates, and young professionals, all attendees are welcome to attend and we are certain that the content will be beneficial to all who participate.


  • Mentees
    Go here to pre-register for the mentorship program and we will contact you when it’s time to choose your preferred mentors
  • Professionals and Prospective Mentors
    Are you interested in serving as a mentor? Along with a head shot, please prepare a brief bio that explains a bit about your background and your work, the sector and discipline that you work in, and a statement about your interest in offering guidance to students or your role as a mentor. Please email these to Nicole Wilkinson by February 9, 2018.

Are you a student, recent graduate, a professional looking for a career change or someone reentering the workforce after a break? Are you interested in working in the world of water? If so, we invite you to participate in the Water Resources Research Institute annual conference and sign up for our Mentorship Program.

Through this program, you will be paired with a professional mentor – you’ll select your preferences from a list of available mentors and we’ll pair you based on interest.  Your mentor will then facilitate your networking with other water professionals, address questions related to water resources research and careers, and provide a more enriching experience at the WRRI conference.

Two special mentorship sessions (a meet & greet on day 1 and a breakfast on day 2) will provide opportunities for you to meet each other and carve out your time together. Mentees will be provided with materials to help guide conversations as needed.


We’re designing special sessions to meet common needs of students and young professionals for information about water resources and hands-on opportunities to build skills that will benefit a career in water resources or other science-related field.

  • Careers in Water Resources
    Are you a student or recent graduate interested in a career in the growing field of water resources? Are you a professional looking for a career change? Join this interactive session on careers in water resources. A variety of water resource sectors will be represented by over a dozen professionals who have diverse educational, professional, and personal backgrounds and who will share their experiences, knowledge, and advice about careers in this field. Participants will interact with and learn from our guests in small, rotating groups by self-selecting the sectors and professionals they would like to meet. Professional summaries and recommended questions to ask will be provided to participants prior to the session to aid in research, preparation, and to help participants choose who they are most interested in meeting.
  • Tips and Tools for Effective Visualization, Design and Communication of Your Research
    This session will focus on how to communicate your research through storytelling and visual representation. Emphasis will be given to presenting at conferences and to representing your work through poster presentations.


All university (undergraduate and graduate) students who present a poster presentation at the conference are automatically entered into the poster competition. Cash awards go to 1st place ($200), 2nd place ($150), 3rd place ($100) and honorable mention ($50) winners. To be considered for future competitions, please submit an abstract to present a poster at the next WRRI conference.


WRRI invites businesses, organizations, student groups, agencies and others to set up an exhibition alongside poster presentations at the annual conference. This is a great opportunity for exhibitors to network with a diverse audience, including university and corporate researchers, undergraduate and graduate students, environmental professionals, representatives from local, state and federal government agencies, businesses, industries, and other organizations. The experience of conference participants is also enhanced by exhibitor displays and interactions. If you have a product, mission, or effort you would like to share, please consider exhibiting with us.

Exhibitor Registration includes:

  • Registration for 1 exhibit representative for commercial and non-profit/government exhibitors. Student group exhibitor rates include attendance for two group representatives.
  • A 10-foot space with a 6-foot skirted table and a chair.
  • Electrical outlets by request.
  • Recognition (with logo placement) in conference materials.
  • All conference materials, meals, breaks and receptions.


WRRI requests your financial support.

We all value water. Whether for drinking, recreation, or business, our prosperity and quality of life depends on it. North Carolina’s Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) works to protect our state’s water resources. We educate decision makers and train the next generation of water consumers, water scientists, and water managers. With a modest budget and a small staff, we leverage a lot to provide a robust research and training program.

We are requesting your financial support to support the costs of the annual research conference, including:

  • awards to the university student poster competition winners
  • awards to the high school art contest winners
  • low registration rates for student attendance at the conference
  • coffee breaks and receptions to fuel participants’ brains and facilitate networking
  • and much more!

Sponsorship Levels

  • Watershed Level – $2500
  • River Level – $1000
  • Tributary Level – $500
  • Every Drop Counts – Minimum Donation of $50

Sponsorships Include:

  • Logo placement and recognition in printed conference materials and on conference website
  • Space on sponsor/literature rack in poster/exhibit room to display sponsor materials


In an effort to be good stewards of the environment, WRRI and NCWRA want to ensure the most sustainable practices are in place for our conference. We are requesting that all of our attendees do their part to help promote this standard as well. Over the 2 days, there will be many opportunities to pitch in including:

  • Consider using alternative transportation for travel to the conference (i.e. NCSU Wolfline System, bike, carpool, use a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft)
  • Monitor personal water usage during the event and bring your own reusable beverage cup with you to the conference
  • Utilize special event bins for the event (i.e. recycling and composting at lunch and throughout the McKimmon Center)
  • Turn off any unnecessary lighting or personal equipment during the conference
  • Recycle your conference booklet and name tag with a WRRI staff member once the conference is over.

WRRI has implemented other sustainable practices throughout the event such as providing seasonal, local food, using compostable products for large meals, and printing the conference booklets on FSC certified paper. We are proud to say we’ve earned the following recognition from NC State Office of Sustainability: