America's Water: An opportunity for a new sustainable design from a One Water Perspective

Friday, 19 December 2014: 10:35 AM
Upmanu Lall, Columbia Univ, New York, NY, United States
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of pipes--and sewers--and plumbing-tape--
Of reuse--and CSOs--
And why the wastewater treatment plant is stinking--
And whether houses have wings."

In a world that seeks solutions to problems of water, energy and waste, and risks from a changing climate, a few lights shine bright. In challenges of aging infrastructure, we see an opportunity.

As drinking water and wastewater treatment standards tighten and pose a financial threat to communities, we see an opportunity.

As the financial industry looks askance at funding large water infrastructure projects with an uncertain payback, we see opportunity.

As others fear for the environment amidst an approaching commoditization of water, we see opportunity.

We visualize a new world in which water is treated exquisitely for the purposes of consumption. Rainwater harvesting addresses CSOs, and need, and point of use systems treat rain and waste water for use, so the environment can breathe a bit easier.

Sensors, smart grids, targeted treatment and innovation in systems and business architecture is in the offing as enabling technologies.

Yes, even as autonomous vehicles seek to seduce you on an inter-city journey, a revolution in water technologies and systems operation is imminent.

Perhaps this talk will illuminate you on the technological possibility, the social barriers to overcome, and the innovation frontier that awaits us