Abstract: Freshwater scarcity is expected to increase over the coming decades due to population growth, migration to urban centers in water-scarce regions, and climate change. Increased scarcity will in turn drive price increases and potential for conflict. The ability of a country to equitably deliver freshwater may thus be the difference between survival and peace or war. Past solutions have relied upon massive water projects that convey freshwater from water-rich to water-scarce regions, but such strategies are energy intensive, costly, and contentious when political boundaries are crossed. Seawater desalination can be even more energy intensive, and is constrained to near-ocean locations. By contrast, reuse of treated water creates local supplies that offset demand for imported water. In the developed world, such systems are typically add-ons to existing centralized treatment plants, and purified water is pumped from these facilities to local users. In the developing world, the costs of such systems are prohibitive, and a new approach is needed. What might be done with mass-produced modular systems equipped with accurate and rapid monitoring technology? What would be the obstacles and the pay-offs?
About the Speaker: Craig Criddle is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the Codiga Resource Recovery Center at Stanford. He received his undergraduate and MS degrees from Utah State University and his PhD from Stanford. His research focuses on technology for recovery of clean water, renewable energy, biomaterials, and valuable information. As Director of the Codiga Resource Recovery Center, he works with colleagues and practitioners to accelerate commercialization of promising technologies for resource recovery and to equip a new generation of practitioners with the know-how needed to successfully implement new technologies and to innovate beyond them.