Sunday, December 29, 2013

MIT Water Summit

This was an event organized by the MIT Water Club (, a student group, and the first of what they hope will be an annual event.

Kenneth Strzepek, Univ of CO, Boulder2.4% of world's water is fresh with most in glaciers 12.5 cubic km water is available with 5.5 used annually by peopleNot where we want it or economically accessible, variable in space and time70% for irrigation, 20% for industry - mostly thermoelectric cooling, 10% domestic.  Eastern US thermoelectric cooling is not recycled as it is in Western US90 days a year the Yellow River of China goes dry
Franklin Fisher, MITWater Economics Project in the Middle EastFishelson says that water wars will not happen because water has value and the upper bound is cost of desalinization, now 60 cents per cubic cm in Middle EastDisputes over water are cost disputes not life and deathMultiple Year Water Allocation System (MYWAS) is a computer program they've developed for ME water which includes externalities ----------Cambridge water is about 1.6 cents per gallon ---------Who Owns Water?Lawrence Susskind, MITCase by case basis, in practice and water is not priced even to cover environmental uses.  No forum for a conversation on water's value.Not public versus private but a partnershipGreat rivers have national compacts but without any consultation with enviro groups or individuals
Sharmila Murthy, Suffolk UnivWho controls water might be a better questionIn 2010 UN declares a human right to water and sanitation
Leon Awerbach, IDA Desalination AcademyWater is considered free and a human right.
Food-Water NexusDennis McLaughlin, MITVirtual water trading is the water in food transported around the worldBiotech to improve efficiency of water use in plants
Timothy Griffin, TuftsSoil health and food waste are large areas of water lossIn US, ag is now the number 1 source of water pollution
Gabriela Burian, MonsantoGrow Africa program for improving smallholder ag in Africa Developing nations don't have the advantages of the numbers and data that the US has[Oddly enough, Ms Burian of Monsanto was the person who talked about "systems" the most.  Almost all the other speakers were focused on one or two specific technologies or ideas and not addressing systems issues at all.]
Water-Energy Nexus
About 50% of US water goes to power plant cooling
John Rogers, UCS
Power plants withdraw more water than any other use but put most of it back, warmer, into the environment.  Ag draws less but consumes the most.
Kenneth Kimmel, DEP MA
Clean water act, clean air water act are regulatory silos but they affect each other, one reason why MA has put energy into environment
MWRA water demand going down and state encouraging new communities to join to stop groundwater draw.  44 inches of rain per year
Billion kwh per year on waste water treatment, one million pounds of carbon per year. Transferring to renewables and state is underwriting stand alone energy efficiency, guaranteeing savings from year one.
John Lienhard, MIT
Air cooled power plants and closed loop recycling cooling systems are solutions EPRI is working on
Singapore is recycling all water, adding 10% of it to the drinking supply
Emerging Water Contaminants
GAO estimates over 700 new chemicals introduced annually
Herve Buisson, Veolia Water
Health-water nexus
In EU regulation counts oxidation by-products of herbicides and others which changes the way people treated water, moving to absorption rather than oxidation treatment.
France is using tag species (fish, frogs) that show effects after contamination for testing water quality
Absorption, oxidation, reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis can get everything but leaves concentrates
Ruth Marfil-Vega, American Water
Carol West, DEP MA
To go from guideline to standard, state requires testing every water source in the state.
Green pharmaceuticals - webinar
Public water is tested for 84 compounds.  Bottled water is tested for sodium, not under safe water act, under FDA
Philip Gschwend, MIT
There's no chemical that's ever been made that doesn't get into the environment.  

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