Wharton IGEL – The Resource Revolution of Water Reuse takeaways

The Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership and Suez held the The Resource Revolution of Water Reuse event at the Wharton SF campus today.  It was a fantastic day of talks and discussions, and a huge thanks goes out to the always-spectacular Joanne Spigonardo for putting together a combination of sessions that tackled technology, data, policy, science and economics.  Also, it was (finally) nice to attend an event where speakers/panelists were not the typical ‘manels’ (all male).  Water affects everyone, literally; issues around topics such as access, distribution, demographics and markets need to be discussed in an appropriately representative manner.

Instead of an article, here are some notes that I took that capturing some of the general themes of the day.  Feel free to reach out to follow up.


Eric Gernath, Suez CEO

  • Good to see his focus on the supply side of the problem
  • Climate, land use, demand, population growth…affecting both quality and quantity
  • Problems to persist (see above)
  • Discarded H20 is largely lost as a source for re-use. Need to do a better job in reclamation
  • Recognition of water as a global issue is crucial
  • Investing in water projects is incredibly complex

Charlie Iceland, WRI

  • Water Scarcity
  • Tenets of WRI program on water risk
  • Water stress (demand/supply) > 40 and 80% more prevalent in populated regions
  • Satellites to aid in decision making
  • shoutout to Bobby Shakleton w Bloomberg Maps

Feljcia Marcus, SWRCB

  • California issues
  • Big problem….big opportunity
  • With all of CA storage, 1/3 is from snowpack
  • Recycled water – drought is the game changer

Jeff Kightlinger, Metro Water District of CA

  • major supply side issues for Southern California
  • They supply >1/2 of water needs for SoCal
  • 2 bln gallons day-1
  • Geographic diversity of supply was the initial hedge against drought…this has changed
  • 1990s – ran out of supply, drought triggered


Technology Panel

  • Recognition of Data as an enabler
  • cost to do something useful w data down, barrier to entry lower
  • lack of experts
  • Biggest opportunities (imo) ex-North America
  • Lack of liquidity (imo) largest hinderance
  • predictions (imo) meaningless


Afternoon – Policy

  • no notes on this

Look forward to continuing the discussion with attendees.  Great side conversations

1 thought on “Wharton IGEL – The Resource Revolution of Water Reuse takeaways”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *