Agenda

Download a PDF of the program here

Day 1: Public Symposium

Time Description
8:00am - 8:45 am

Breakfast and registration, Big Ten B , Kellogg Center

9:00 am - 9:15 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks by College of Social Science Dean Rachel Croson

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

9:15 am - 10:00 am

"The Water Quality Crisis: Are We Risking Our Health?" by Joan Rose, MSU

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

10:00 am - 10:45 am

"Water and Human Development" by Lyla Mehta, Institute of Research Developments

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

10:45 am - 11:00 am

Break

11:00 am - 11:45 am

"What Water Needs Now: Smart Water in the Era of Climate Change & Donald Trump" by Charles Fishman, author of The Big Thirst

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch

"No Clean Slate - Opportunities to Clean Up the Mess You Are Inheriting" by Lana Pollack, International Joint Commission

Big Ten B, Kellogg Center

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

"Troubled Waters: Access and Safety Under Emergency Conditions" by Michael Mascarenhas, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

2:45 pm - 3:00 pm Break
3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

Panel Discussion: The Flint Water Crisis

Susan Masten, CEE; Debra Furr-Holden, Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Kent Key, Office of Community Scholars

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

Special thank you to our steering committee: Dr. Thomas Dietz, Dr. R. Jan Stevenson and Dr. Julie Libarkin. All your hard work has been appreciated.

Agenda

Day 2: Scientific Colloquium

Time Description
8:00 am - 8:30 am

Breakfast

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

8:30am - 9:15 am

Shahzeen Attari, Indiana University

"Misperceptions of Water Use and Water Systems"

Big Ten B, Kellogg Center

9:15 am - 10:00 am

Jennifer Carrera, Michigan State University

"Water Poverty in a Land of Wealth: Considering the Implications and Coupled Resources in Low-income Communities in the United States"

Big Ten B, Kellogg Center

10:00 am - 10:15 am Break
10:15 am - 11:00 am

Rainer Horn, Christian-Albrechts University at Kiel

"Effect of Landuse Management Systems on Coupled Hydraulic Mechanical Soil Proceses"

Big Ten B, Kellogg Center

11:00 am - 11:45 pm

Megan Konar, University of Illinois

"Food is Groundwater in Disguise: Aquifer Depletion, Food Security and Drought"

Big Ten B, Kellogg Center

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Vincent Tidwell, Sandia National Laboratories

"Evolving Nexus of Climate, Energy, Water and Waste"

Big Ten B, Kellogg Center

2:45 pm. - 3:30 pm

Sergio Villamayor-Tomas, University of Barcelona

"Bottom-up Nexus Adaptations Through the Lenses of Polycentric Governance"

Big Ten B, Kellogg Center

3:30 pm - 3:45 pm Break
3:45 pm - 4:30 pm

David Zilberman, University of California-Berkeley

"Climate Change, Water and Energy"

Big Ten B, Kellogg Center

Special thank you to our steering committee: Dr. Thomas Dietz, Dr. R. Jan Stevenson and Dr. Julie Libarkin. All your hard work has been appreciated.

Day 1: Public Symposium

  • Joan B. Rose Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research Michigan State University: “The Water Quality Crisis: Are We Risking Our Health?”

    ABSTRACT: Water is one of the most critical of all the world’s life support systems on which the Blue Planet depends upon. Water quantity and quality (access and management) are interlinked with our global biohealth servicing a sustainable plant, animal and human network. Water quality at a large scale is impacted by agricultural intensification needed to feed the planet and climate and extreme events essentially exacerbates the degradation water and the ecosystem services water supports. In the last 60 years we have seen a great acceleration of population growth (in people and animals), landuse change, use of fertilizers, and water. This has led us into the anthropocene where continued water quality degradation as demonstrated by increased eutrophication and fecal contamination associated with microbial hazards and antibiotic resistance is a global phenomenon. Despite our investment in infrastructure and better environmental protection policies, water pollution shows a continual and dramatic impact on health. Waterborne diseases in humans are characterized by pathogens which are persistent, potent, excreted at high numbers and zoonotic. Through the use of new tools, we can begin to address point and diffuses sources and specific hazards which are now identifiable (through microbial source tracking and pathogen specific diagnostic testing); ground water and surface water quality can be addressed through targeted monitoring and management strategies. The data will assist investments to move wastewater and sewage treatment toward resource recovery which will provide energy, nutrients and fresh water. It will be more important than ever to implement these key approaches in order to effectively and efficiently mitigate the impacts of an aging infrastructure (or lack thereof) and the global changes that are now occurring and to improve the BioHealth of the planet in the future.


  • Lyla Mehta Institute of Development Studies: “Water and Human Development”

    ABSTRACT: Water is essential for human wellbeing and is a basic asset for productive livelihoods for people in the global South. It is also integral to human food security and nutrition, the lifeblood of ecosystems and is also key to realizing most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) . Still, despite decades of water reform and water management policies, poor women and men in the global South often have dismal access to water. This causes systematic harm to different aspects of their lives. The presentation thus argues for the need to advance a human development approach to water scarcity and the water ‘crisis’. It questions dominant portrayals of water scarcity and explores alternative approaches that challenge technocentric portrayals of the water crisis. These include rights based approaches as well as the application of the entitlements approach (EA) and capabilities approach (CA) to the water domain. It shows how a human development approach to water helps question the water sector’s traditional focus on volumetric supply, utilitarianism and efficiency and avoidance of issues concerning power and exclusions. The presentation examines current approaches in the water domain such as the ‘nexus’ and the drive towards integration to demonstrate that these are often framed in technical and apolitical ways that tend to be disconnected from local people’s lived realities. It argues that while the inalienable universality of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their focus on inequality must be celebrated, unless elite capture and power imbalances that perpetuate inequality are tackled head on by both policymakers and activists, the SDGs and future water management policies will not achieve social or water justice.


  • Charles Fishman author of "The Big Thirst": “What Water Needs Now Smart Water in the Era of Climate Change & Donald Trump ”

    ABSTRACT: to come.


  • Lana Pollack International Joint Commission: “No Clean Slate – Opportunities to Clean Up the Mess You are Inheriting”

    ABSTRACT: to come.


  • Michael Mascarenhas Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: “Troubled Waters: Access and Safety Under Emergency Conditions.”

    ABSTRACT: Contemporary notions of environmental and social justice largely hinge on how we come to think about water in the twenty-first century. Recent conflicts over access and crises about safety have been divisive, emotional, and in some cases devastating, underscoring the emergency conditions associated with water insecurity. Rate hikes, shut-offs, and credits, not to mention E Coli, PFOA, and lead, all too often frame the discourse and practice of contemporary water governance. Moreover there has been significant neoliberal restructuring of the systems, structures, and institutions that provide drinking water and other public services on a daily basis. Nevertheless, there has been limited attention paid to the ways in which these institutional changes have contributed to uneven access and recent public health crises. These changes, I suggest, mark a form of double dispossession that is particularly discriminatory towards the poor, minority communities, and women. Using recent examples, I argue that power, poverty, and inequality are at the heart of today’s global water crisis. In an era of climate change, much of humanity’s fate rests on ensuring that environmental justice is a central principle in the politics of water governance.

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    Day 2: Scientific Colloquia


  • Shahzeen Attari Indiana University: “Misperceptions of Water Use and Water Systems.”

    ABSTRACT: Freshwater is increasingly being used beyond sustainability levels. How accurately do individuals perceive actual use and water systems? When asked for the most effective strategy they could implement to conserve water in their lives, most participants mentioned curtailment (e.g., taking shorter shower) rather than efficiency improvements (e.g., replacing toilets). This contrasts with expert recommendations. Participants underestimated water use by a factor of 2 on average, with large underestimates for high water-use activities. Perceptions of water use are far more accurate than perceptions of energy use. When student participants were asked to draw how water reaches the tap in an average home in the U.S. and is then returned to the natural environment, results show major gaps in understanding: where 56% of the student participants did not draw a water treatment plant, 71% did not draw a wastewater treatment plant, and 1 in 5 participants had untreated water returning to the natural environment. In this talk I will describe the prevailing misperceptions we tend to have about water use and water systems and discuss methods to correct these misperceptions to help improve environmental decision making.

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  • Jennifer Carrera Michigan State University: Water Poverty in a Land of Wealth: Considering the Implications of Water and Coupled Resources in Low-income Communities in the United States”

    ABSTRACT: What is water poverty? In developing countries, water poverty is the lack of water due to absent infrastructure in predominately low-income spaces. In the United States, water infrastructure is nearly ubiquitous in a highly urbanized context so lack of access to infrastructure is not as direct a cause of water poverty. Instead, impaired access to water in the United States occurs at the intersection of economic poverty, declining condition of infrastructure, and networked and competing resource demands. These networked and competing demands, such as food, energy, health, and housing condition, are also necessary for sustaining the household but within the context of limited financial means may override the ability to achieve water access. Additionally, the interaction between these coupled resources can create mutual masking that obfuscates immediate needs. In this paper, I elaborate on these challenges, which are experienced across the nation, through a discussion of the cases of Flint and Detroit, Michigan and Lowndes County, Alabama


  • Rainer Horn Christian-Albrechts University at Kiel: “Effect of landuse management systems on coupled hydraulic mechanical soil processes ”

    ABSTRACT: Soils are the most critical life-supporting compartments of the Biosphere. They provide numerous ecosystem services such as habitat for biodiversity, water and nutrients, as well as producing food, feed, fiber and energy. Soils undergo intense and irreversible changes due to a non-site adjusted land management and improper application of machinery and techniques in its broadest sense. However, to feed the rapidly growing world population in 2050, agricultural food production must be doubled using the same land resources footprint. It furthermore requires a definition and following of site-specific functionality differences, which may exclude or concentrate certain land use or management forms in order to optimize yield and soil protection at the same moment. Soil physical, chemical as well as physicochemical research has not only to quantify in detail scale dependent processes and functions (from the micro- to the macroscale), but they also have to include the obtained results in coupled soil models which allow to link those processes and functions. These links between detailed and well-defined intensity properties and functions and the uncounted number of models available needs further improvement. According to Verreeken et al. 2014 a new generation of soil models based on a whole systems approach is required to address these critical knowledge gaps and thus contribute to the preservation of ecosystem services, improve our understanding of climate-change–feedback processes, bridge basic soil science research and management, and facilitate the communication between science and society. Furthermore, the definition of boundary conditions and the inclusion of site and climate dependent soil properties and functions in combination with the transition from rigid to non-rigid soil systems needs more in depth research approaches. Otherwise, proof the definition and quantification of often-used general definitions of sustainability and resilience as well as to link these properties with a broad range of societal challenges including climate change mitigation and adaptation, land use change, water resource protection, ecological sustainability can´t. Thus, the in depth research e.g. on water fluxes, soil mechanical properties( from the micro- to the macroscale from rheometrical to geophysical approaches), the overall available problem of hydrophobicity and wettability as a function of climate change induced increased drying intensity must be quantified more in detail and boundary conditions must be defined. Furthermore, the link between thermal, hydrological, gaseous fluxes and processes under various mechanical and hydraulic stresses and consequences for soil degradation need more attention. In the lecture, some more detailed information about up to date research approaches in soil science will be presented. .


  • Megan Konar University of Illinois: “Food is groundwater in disguise: aquifer depletion, food security, and drought”

    ABSTRACT: Irrigated agriculture is contributing to the depletion of aquifer systems around the world. Here, we focus on the Central Valley, High Plains, and Mississippi Embayment aquifer systems of the United States, which are being used unsustainably, but produce a large fraction of the domestic and international grain supply. Thus, when these aquifers are depleted, there may be implications for global food security, if production must be significantly reduced due to a lack of irrigation water available to grow crops. Here, we trace the food and embodied groundwater resources from these aquifer systems to their final destination to determine where these water resources are being consumed. We determine the major U.S. cities, U.S. states, and countries that are currently most reliant upon these over-exploited aquifers of the United States. Additionally, we explore the impacts of drought for agricultural production, water footprints, and food and virtual water exports of the Central Valley of California. This work highlights the role of distant demands on local groundwater sustainability and suggests that aquifer depletion must be considered within its global context.


  • Vincent Tidwell Sandia National Laboratories: “Challenges and Opportunities at the Evolving Nexus of Climate, Energy, Water and Waste”

    ABSTRACT: The energy and water sectors are characterized by numerous bilateral and multilateral linkages evolving in a heterogeneous environment. For example, the energy sector withdraws more water than any other sector in the Unites States while the water sector is estimated to use over 8% of the nation’s primary energy production to condition and deliver potable water. The corresponding water footprint for energy production (thermoelectric power, energy extraction, biofuel feedstocks and fuel processing) varies strongly by location owing to differences in resource endowment, energy demand, and transportation/processing infrastructure, while similar heterogeneities are expressed by the energy footprint of the water sector due to differences in water source, resource demand, and technology utilization. Climate imposes yet another heterogeneous footprint that interacts differently across the energy and water sectors. Often overlooked is the related management of energy and water sector waste streams which imposes an important multiplier effect on the nexus as treatment technologies require energy and water while untreated and stored wastes pose dangers to the quality of primary resources (land, water and air). This nexus of climate, energy, water and waste is not an abstract vulnerability; rather, the reality is playing out all across the U.S. as disruptions to power plant operations, limited hydropower production, constrained drilling and stimulation of oil and gas wells, damage of water and energy sector infrastructure and protracted permitting of new facilities. However, evolving technology, policy and cooperation are having a marked impact on the nexus. The gas revolution and falling costs for renewables are greatly reducing water use for thermoelectric power production. An unintended consequence of policies regulating power plant air emissions and water intake structures is the promotion of lower water use cooling and generation technology. Finally, integrated planning across the energy and water sectors is finding unique solutions to the nexus.


  • Sergio Villamayor-Tomas University of Barcelona: “Bottom-up nexus adaptations through the lenses of polycentric governance ”

    ABSTRACT: The climate change adaptation literature and the scholarship on water-energy-food trade-offs converge in their concern about social innovation, and a rudimentary, but still very valuable, attention to the role of institutions. Much of the institutional work has tended to focus on “policy” level (i.e., governmental) solutions. Fewer works have paid attention to the diversity of cooperative actions developed by local user groups to cope with cross-sector externalities and spill-over effects. The ability of user groups to accommodate to resource use trade-offs can be associated to their capacity for cooperation but also their “location” within the broader policy context. Looking at the nexus from a multi-level governance perspective can be useful to the opportunities of top-down policy design without discarding the potential of bottom-up innovation processes. The polycentricity paradigm stands out in that regard for its non-hierarchical understanding of inter-governmental relations and its concern about spontaneous self-organization processes by user groups at different scales. A typical example of local user groups operating “at the nexus” are irrigation associations. The raison d’etre of irrigation associations is the provision of the necessary infrastructure to convey water from its source to cropping fields, and to allocate it among farmers in sufficient quantity and in a timely manner; however, in many countries around the world irrigators are increasingly dependent on energy to pump water from wells energy and/or apply water to fields. Operating at the nexus means that irrigation associations need to adapt to water, energy and food supply and demand dynamics, as well as policies and regulations. The case of Spanish irrigation associations is paradigmatic of the opportunities and challenges of bottom-up nexus adaptations as understood through the lenses of polycentricity paradigm. Their ability to cope with water and electricity crises can be related to lights and shades of recent reforms of the water and energy governance systems at the national and European levels. Spanish irrigation associations are not the only example of bottom-up nexus adaptations. A brief overview of other cases illustrates the variety of casuistic and challenges ahead.


  • David Zilberman University of California-Berkeley: “Climate Change Water and Energy”

    ABSTRACT: Climate change introduces new challenges to water resource management. In particular, it may require reinvestment in water resources infrastructure to increase storage, compensating for reduced snow packs, and to reallocate water to compensate for increased evaporation. We understand that some of the challenges can be met with effective utilization of emerging technologies, but the utilization of these technologies need to follow sound economic principles. While adoption of water conservation technologies seems to be a substitute to investment infrastructure, we will show that in many likely situations conservation technologies will lead to increased demand for infrastructure, leading to a new pattern of water use and agricultural production. Desalinization can provide water to coastal area and recycle waste water, thus increasing water supply. To reduce the greenhouse gas effect of desalinization, the challenge will be to increase reliance renewable energy sources, especially solar. The faster melting of snow packs may provide new opportunities for hydro-power, so design of cost effective and environmental friendly hydro power technology will become a priority. Designing these technologies can combine flood protection, increase water supply, and cheap energy. Adapting to climate change requires new design of infrastructure, improved technologies, and new management strategies and policies. It may lead to establish a new balance between conservation and adaptation of landscape and natural resources


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