Special Seminar – David Sedlak – Jan. 13

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering as part of its Departmental Seminar Series announces the upcoming Special Seminar:

  • Topic: The Next Urban Water Revolutions
  • Speaker: Professor David Sedlak, University of California, Berkeley
  • Host: UBC CHBE Graduate Students Club
  • Time & Date: 1:00pm-1:50pm; January 13, 2017
  • Location: Chemical and Biological Engineering Building Room 102


Over the past 2,500 years, three technological revolutions have made it possible to quench the thirst of cities, control waterborne diseases and eliminate the pollutants that fouled urban waterways. Water-stressed cities are currently making large investments in new, centralized approaches for obtaining drinking water that can be considered as a fourth urban water revolution. For example, cities in California, Texas and Colorado are turning to the reuse of municipal wastewater, harvesting of urban runoff and desalination of seawater to substitute for increasingly unreliable imported water sources. But this may not be good enough. Ultimately, challenges associated with climate change, sea-level rise and urbanization may create a need for yet another revolution. The best approach for responding to these challenges is still unclear, but decentralized water treatment technologies, managed natural systems and more holistic urban water management systems all have important roles to play in a fifth urban water revolution.


Prof. David Sedlak

David Sedlak is the Plato Malozemoff Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, Co-Director of the Berkeley Water Center and Deputy Director of the NSF engineering research center for Reinventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt). Professor Sedlak’s research addresses the use of natural and engineered systems to improve water quality and new approaches for increasing the sustainability and resiliency of urban water systems.

He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the Paul Busch Award for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research and the Clarke Prize for Excellence in Water Research. Sedlak also is the author of Water 4.0: The Past, Present and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource and serves as editor-in-chief of the ACS journal, Environmental Science & Technology.