Northern California Science Writers Association

David Sedlak: The water crisis in the West

  • Tuesday, July 26, 2022
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • A Zoom talk


Water crisis in the West: How urban dwellers and farmers can adapt to a drier climate

In 2014, David Sedlak wrote THE book on water and how humans have used and abused it throughout history. Called “Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource,” the book argues that we can gain insight into current water issues by understanding the history of urban water systems.

He’s now writing a new book with a broader mission — to understand the ways that the world’s water systems are going to respond as climate change, global development and under-investment in existing water infrastructure place additional stress on cities, farms and ecosystems.

Sedlak, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley and director of the Berkeley Water Center, joined NCSWA for a Zoom talk about California’s current water challenges and the transition that’s taking place as cities break their reliance on imported water. He is particularly interested in the development of local sources of water, water reuse — the practice of using municipal wastewater effluent to sustain aquatic ecosystems and augment drinking water supplies — and the treatment and use of urban runoff. He is hopeful about the ways in which advanced water technologies might be used to help California agriculture prepare for a drier future.

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