Pioneering Socio-hydrologist Delivering September 26 WaterTalk

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Renowned socio-hydrologist Prof. Murugesu Sivapalan, Chester & Helen Siess Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will be at the University of Waterloo on September 26 to deliver a Water Institute WaterTalk entitled “Imagineering” Not Just Engineering Needed to Solve Water Security Challenges”.

SivaMurugesu Sivapalan holds a B.S. Civil Engineering (University of Ceylon), M.Eng  in Water Resources Engineering (AIT, Thailand), and obtained his Ph.D from Princeton University in 1986. He was Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Western Australia for 17 years, before joining University of Illinois in 2005. Prof. Sivapalan has published on a wide range of topics, including effects of heterogeneity and scale, flood frequency, ecohydrology and water balance and water quality modeling. He was Executive Editor of the Hydrology and Earth System Sciences journal, and was founding chair of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences’ Decade on Predictions in Ungauged Basins initiative. Prof. Sivapalan has received several awards for his research contributions, including the John Dalton and Alfred Wegener Medals of the European Geosciences Union and the Robert Horton Medal of the American Geophysical Union. He was joint recipient of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water awarded in recognition of his role in developing and leading the new field of sociohydrology.

Many parts of the world are facing severe water crises. Historically engineers and domain experts are tasked with design and implementation of technological solutions to water problems, such as the building of dams, pipelines and desalination plants. These work well in the short term, but non-involvement of the beneficiaries of the water works, the people themselves, in conceptualization and execution of otherwise well-intentioned and well-designed solutions often leads to unintended, even adverse, consequences due to issues not considered in the designs and due to non-acceptance by society. Prof. Sivapalan will illustrate this through examples of water management problems in Sri Lanka, Australia, USA, China and Europe, which prompted the launch and growth of the field of sociohydrology. He will put these in the context of UN Sustainable Development Goals related to water, which provide renewed motivation for engineers, social scientists and humanists to come together and work towards developing imaginative solutions for many water security challenges faced by communities around the world.

Join us and register for the talk here.


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