Water, Sustainability, and the City

Most of us think that since we live by some of the world’s largest bodies of fresh water, The Great Lakes, there must be no way we’re running out of it in the United States. Contrary to that belief, the Western region’s water resources have been on the verge of depletion for the past decade or so, and are continuing to disappear at a startling rate. And soon, it won’t just be that region’s fresh water that is in trouble.

Last week on Tuesday, September 29, Roosevelt University’s Sustainability Studies Program and Physical Resources Department hosted a lecture by RU alumnus Damon Williams. Graduating from RU with his BS degree in Physics, Mr. Williams is an experienced and successful civil engineer with a focus on water and wastewater management. He is also on the management team at DSW Water Strategies located in Arizona.

As we all know, California is suffering from a massive drought that is damaging agriculture, draining watersheds, and limiting human usage. Starting with some background information on climate change and its effects, Williams’ lecture primarily focused on the Western region of the United States and how it’s being negatively impacted due to water scarcity and overuse.

Damon Williams during his presentation on 9/29/15.

Damon Williams during his presentation on 9/29/15.

Damon brought home the fact that it takes us all to make changes—not just engineers, or policy makers, or scientists, or activists—we all have to swing the bat, especially in instances where politics interfere with making needed changes. There are also a lot of job opportunities and directions that students can go in if interested in this topic—there is a need for climate scientists, hydrologists, engineers, research scientists, and so much more. Williams ended the presentation with a “Water-Energy-Food Nexus”. These are things we need, and in varying quantities. How do we find a balance between our needs? How do we get what we need to survive (and maybe even thrive) without destroying everything in our path?

Turnout was great at the event- 39 attendees! We thank Mr. William’s for his great presentation and discussion!

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