Like all of the Inland Empire, Hesperia faces tough challenges when dealing with water, according to Kirby Brill, general manager of the Mojave Water Agency.


"I don't think Hesperia's challenges are unique," Brill said during a recent phone news conference. "Its challenges are essentially the region's challenges."


Brill, other area water experts, county officials and region stakeholders will converge at the Ontario Convention Center on Aug. 14 for the Second Annual San Bernardino County Water Conference. Participants will discuss solutions to an issue that is reaching new levels of concern. Specifically, this year's event is geared toward addressing how water issues affect economic vitality.


According to Brill, county agencies need to project population growth and associated demands. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently declared a state of emergency in seven counties, he added.


"We're moving into what is a very bleak situation water wise throughout the state," he said.


Brill said that offering financial incentives and improving efficiency are keys to dealing with the crisis.


"What everyone is starting to realize is that if we become more efficient it can really stretch our water supplies," Brill said.


Paul Biane, the chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, agreed.


"All the efforts of city and county governments are in jeopardy if we don't focus on being more efficient," Biane said during the news conference.


The building industry is also onboard with solutions to the water issues, according to Todd Tatum of American Housing Group.An increasing number of builders are making sure their homes are energy efficient and embrace green and sustainable building.


"We need to make sure that we are doing are part," said Tatum, who serves as president of the Building Industry Association's Baldy View chapter.


Moreover, the million new residents who are expected to move to the county over the next two decades will demand services such as water.


"The population will continue to grow, so we have to plan for that," said Carlos Rodriguez, director of public affairs for the BIA chapter. "The industry is not resistant. We're proactive."


For more information on the conference, call (866) 737-4880.