Room 1670 Beyster Building (North Campus)
Speaker: Nancy Love, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE
Professor of Environmental Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Michigan
Title: Academic and Research Opportunities to Address Challenges in the Global Urban Water Sector
Enhanced global urbanization coupled with the impacts of climate change on water infrastructure in cities will change how we design and operate these systems in the future. The environmental engineering and science community has been integral to enhancing public health in Westernized countries through its work on technologies that treat and manage drinking water, stormwater and wastewater. In the United States, this has lead to a mostly centralized infrastructure mindset. As the resilience and sustainability of cities to perturbations, such as those likely to be introduced by climate change, are being assessed, the notion of relying upon a mostly centralized strategy is being questioned and some degree of decentralization is being considered. Note that the most resilient solution may be in conflict with the most sustainable solution, and so we need tools to help us identify and implement the best solutions that achieve both goals. Solutions that bring resilience and sustainability to urban water management depend upon setting: for example, solutions for non-arid nutrient-sensitive coastal regions that are expected to receive increased precipitation in the future will be quite different from those for arid regions. Also, strategies to achieve resilient urban water systems for poor countries or those with emerging economies are influenced by very different needs and constraints. In both cases, the potential for adverse impact due to chemical cycling through urban water systems must be considered. This presentation will highlight some of these challenges in the urban water sector. As a case study, work that is ongoing and planned in Ethiopia will be highlighted. One UM-Ethiopia program called EM-PACE (Ethiopia-Michigan Platform to Achieve Collaborative Engagement) will be discussed, including the academic challenges facing the country, the opportunity for academic partnerships, and research collaborations that are underway or planned.