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Prof. David Sedlak
University of California at Berkeley


Date: 28 May 2018 (Monday)
Time: 6:00p.m.-7:00p.m.
Venue: Room Y305, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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Over the past 2,500 years, three technological revolutions have made it possible to quench the thirst of cities, control waterborne diseases and eliminate the pollutants that fouled urban waterways. Water-stressed cities are currently making large investments in new, centralized approaches for obtaining drinking water that can be considered as a fourth water revolution. For example, cities in California, Texas and Colorado are turning to the reuse of municipal wastewater, harvesting of urban runoff and desalination of seawater to substitute for increasingly unreliable imported water sources. But this may not be good enough. Challenges associated with climate change, sea-level rise, emerging contaminants and competition for water resources may require us to develop new strategies that involve active management of natural systems as well as use of distributed water treatment systems. The changes required to enhance urban water security will also require institutional reforms and increased engagement with the public. Ultimately, the right approach for enhancing water security will depend upon local factors including geography, geology, culture and leadership.

About the Speaker

David Sedlak is the Plato Malozemoff Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, Co-Director of the Berkeley Water Center and Deputy Director of the NSF engineering research center for Reinventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt). Professor Sedlak's research addresses the use of natural and engineered systems to improve water quality and new approaches for increasing the sustainability and resiliency of urban water systems. Sedlak is a member US National Academy of Engineering, recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the Paul Busch Award for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research and the Clarke Prize for Excellence in Water Research. Sedlak is the author of Water 4.0: The Past, Present and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource and serves as editor-in-chief of the American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science & Technology.