Tag Archives: water

Urban Water Justice in the Developing World

By Urmila Malvadkar* 

ImageIn the developing world, a lack of sufficient clean water is both a cause and consequence of poverty.   Informal settlements—housing up to 60%  of the population of some cities in the developing world– face unique obstacles to water access.  New infrastructure is difficult to install in dense, unplanned communities.  Many governments ignored needs of these communities in order to de-legitimize them and discourage rural-urban migration.  Further, residents are often rural migrants who stay for a few years  and do not advocate for investing in their community.

Where cities are unwilling or unable to provide water, residents can spend hours a day to purchase water from private vendors who charge 10 to 20 times more than tap water.   Some of these vendors in large cities such as Jakarta and Nairobi, have ties to organized crime, collude to cause artificially high prices, refuse to serve certain ethnicities,  and threaten utility workers with violence.

While some official policies– even pro-poor policies–can reduce access to water among the very poor, some programs focusing on improving service to the most indigent communities profoundly improve lives.

Continue reading

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Greening in Sports, a Game Changer

Drexel student Danny Ricciardi wrote “Greening in Sports, a Game Changer” for Buzz On Broad. Read the full article here.

We live in a world where a change is needed, because a change is coming. The environment is not what it used to be, and the things we live on are the reason why. Before you read this please know that this is not a lecture on climate change or how you should recycle. Although you should recycle, this is a bigger movement.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a nonprofit environmental organization that since 1970, have worked to protect the world’s natural resources. The organization was created to protect public health, the environment and the world’s natural resources. The NRDC has more than 1.3 million members, and that number continues to grow.

Continue reading on Buzz On Broad’s website

Water for Energy

by Iliana Sepulveda*

water mage - Copy

Water is essential for human life. It is also very useful for transportation, and agricultural and industrial production. Energy is also an essential ingredient. The relationship between these two resources has become an important topic for national security and for human development worldwide. With current available technology, vast quantities of water are required to produce energy (thermoelectric production as an example). Moreover, due to the geographical mismatch of water supply and demand, a significant amount of energy is needed to transport water where it is consumed, and to ensure that it has the proper quality for its different end uses (human consumption, agricultural uses, industrial production, and ecosystems protection). Continue reading

Survey: Risk of Drought in the United States

by Sharon Muli*

Water covers 70.9% of the Earth’s surface. However, only 3% of the Earth’s water is freshwater, and 68.7% of this freshwater is in glaciers, 30% is ground water, and 0.3% is surface water.  Humans depend on freshwater for a wide variety of uses, and this finite amount of water must be properly managed and allocated.

The chart below shows the uses of freshwater in the U.S. The chart highlights the nexus between water, food, energy –the focus of the upcoming Wharton IGEL Conference on March 20-21, 2013.  The two leading uses of freshwater withdrawals in the U.S. are thermoelectric power and irrigation, and any significant change in water use in these sectors will likely have an impact on the other categories.

US Freshwater Withdrawals

How do droughts affect our country?  As part of a group project for the Wharton course Risk Analysis and Environmental Management, Penn students Sharon Muli, Brent Ginsberg, Zenia Zelechiwsky, and Yaowen Ma are gathering data on how individuals perceive the risk of drought. The focus of this project is to investigate the likelihood of more droughts occurring in the United States in the future and to shed light on their associated impacts.

Please click here to take a survey to help us with our investigation.  The survey takes approximately 2-3 minutes to complete. Thank you for your participation.

*Sharon Muli is enrolled in Penn’s Master of Environmental Studies program with a concentration in Environmental Policy.  She has a background in Biology, is particularly interested in water issues and corporate sustainability, and currently works as a Product Sustainability Co-op at Johnson & Johnson.

A Portable Environmental Economics Lab

by Yixiu Zheng*

I started working on this project last semester, while taking a course in environmental economics.

As a subfield of economics, environmental economics draws on both microeconomics and macroeconomics[i], but it also has unique concepts of its own. I have seen that students who have never studied economics before can find terms like “property rights” and “marginal abatement cost” overwhelming. While scholars of economics often use historical data and experiments, environmental economics is a relatively recent discipline, developed first in 1950s in the U.S.[ii] There aren’t many experiments to build upon; for instance, the water rights trade doesn’t have a large scope of application, except for some arid areas like California and Australia. So how are students supposed to fully understand and apply these concepts in the real world?

I learn best through direct experience. This type of teaching doesn’t seem boring to me. And in fact, it is suggested that people do have a better memory when they put teachings into practice, for example, by trying to cook a meal rather than just reading its recipe. This is why I want to create a game about environmental economics. Continue reading

Water: Emerging Risks and Opportunities Summit

by Samantha Guidon*

On February 8, 2013, with an imminent Winter Storm Nemo on the horizon, over 250 industry leaders and key players in the water sector came together at Goldman Sachs in New York City to begin the dialogue on addressing water risks throughout the country. Students from the Master of Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania joined the Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (Wharton IGEL) team in attending this event to gain key perspectives from leaders in the water sector. Entitled “Water: Emerging Risks and Opportunities Summit,” the conference identified areas in need of improvement and discussed opportunities from various points of view. A welcoming address from David Solomon, Co-Head of the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs, established the overall goals of bringing together capital, technology, and policy in order to determine best management practices within the water sector. Continue reading

The Food-Water-Energy Nexus: A Global Issue

The global population is projected to hit eight billion people within 20 years. With a growing population, dramatically more food, water and energy is needed. Yet even today, food and water supplies are becoming increasingly stressed in the face of climate change, development and unsustainable natural resources consumption. Recent drought-caused food price hikes have provided a glimpse into what the resource-constrained future would look like without significant action.

The concept of the food-water-energy nexus refers to how each one of those things affects the other. Water is the most important part of this nexus, because it cannot be created or substituted. Water also directly affects both of the other items. For example, most forms of energy production require substantial amounts of water for cooling and mining. Agriculture accounts for more than 70 percent of global water withdrawals. By comparison, around 16 percent of global water withdrawals are for the industrial sector. More than three billion people will be living in water-stressed areas by 2020. Continue reading

Upcoming Events in November 2012

Join Wharton IGEL at these upcoming events in Philadelphia:

November 2, 2012: Wharton Energy Conference
Wharton IGEL is a sponsor

November 7, 2012: IES/IGEL Seminar Series – The Future of Water
“Liquid Gold: Global Water Developments and Opportunities”
Jon Freedman, GE Water & Process Technologies
Francesca McCann, Global Water Strategies
Co-sponsored by Wharton IGEL and the Institute for Environmental Studies

November 8, 2012: “Out of Eden: A Journalist Gone Rogue”
Paul Salopek, two-time Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist
Co-sponsored by Wharton IGEL and the Graduate Student Center

IGEL’s Sixth Conference-Workshop

Save the date for IGEL’s Sixth Conference-Workshop on “The Nexus of Energy, food, and Water”, to be held on Thursday, March 21st, 2013. Objectives of the conference include providing an overview about sustainability as it relates to energy, food, and water, the multitude of strategies needed to evaluate water risk in the global economy, as well as the intersection between energy resources, food supply, and security. Speakers will include Andrew Winston, author of “Green to Gold”, Jeff Seabright of Coca-Cola, Perry Moss of Rubicon Global, Tamara Thies of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and many more. The keynote address and prelude to IGEL’s conference-workshop will be delivered by General John Ashcroft, followed by a VIP Dinner the night before, Wednesday, March 20th, 2013. For more information, please view the conference agenda.

Student Opportunities in Global Water and Sanitation

Student Opportunities Global Water and Sanitation 2012-2013