As part of the Water Institue's WaterTalks lecture series, Richard Luthy, from Stanford University, California, presents "Urban Water Supply Re-invention for Dry Cities."
California is entering its sixth year of drought. It’s clear that the old ways of coping with drought — overdraft of groundwater, stream depletion, and greater imports — will no longer meet the needs of the 21st Century. The solution to our challenge of urban water security will likely consist of a combination of demand management and the development of a portfolio of new water supplies.
For reasons described during the seminar, as well as the competing demands for imported water coupled with the impacts of climate change on the hydrologic cycle, it is likely that new water supplies will consist of a mixture of local sources, i.e., desalination, urban stormwater capture, and water recycling. These “taps” of new urban water will help dry cities in California and elsewhere achieve more sustainable water futures.
Richard Luthy is the director of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Re-inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt) and a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University. He seeks more sustainable solutions to urban water challenges in the arid west. His area of teaching and research is environmental engineering and water quality with applications to water reuse, stormwater use, and systems-level analysis of our urban water challenges. His research addresses organic contaminants and contaminants of emerging concern in natural systems that are engineered to improve water quality and protect the environment and human health. He chaired the recent US National Research Council’s study on the beneficial use of graywater and stormwater. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.