Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash

It’s time for a new narrative around water infrastructure that’s above politics

Why do we need a comprehensive overhaul of water infrastructure in the United States? Just look at these facts:


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Delivering Science to Future-Proof Your Water Resources

I’m thrilled to announce the public launch of Future H2O B, a B-corp with the goal of providing top-shelf science nimbly and robustly to clients who are looking to future-proof their water resources.

What do I mean by “future-proof their water resources”? Proactively design green or natural infrastructure in ways that help that client overcome variation with high and low flows.

Future H2O B will work with some of the biggest international companies whose footprints impact water or depend on water.

It will also work with some of the biggest irrigation districts in the United States.

And it will also…


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It’s the promise of a new technology train invented by scientists at ASU and other universities.

Managing animal waste from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is a worldwide challenge.

Splitting water to make hydrogen without using solar (which is too intermittent) or worse, fossil fuels like coal to power the split — another global challenge.

What if combining these challenges could solve them both — a totally green process that generates renewable energy, all without any discharge?

That’s the promise of a new technology train invented by scientists at three US universities including ASU — one that should be containerized and ready for customer view in 18 months.

The technology train turns highly concentrated animal waste…


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It’s time we think about constructing nature — not just restoring it.

Why is this good time to take stock of what we know and still need to know about green infrastructure?


Credit: Simon Berger on Unsplash.

We must start the year off with the right questions — not predictions — if we’re serious about creating water abundance in the U.S. and abroad

If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that predictions aren’t helpful. Instead, I’m starting 2021 off by sharing with you the big water-related questions I think we need to focus on this year to jump-start water solutions and opportunities to create water abundance in the U.S. and abroad.

1. How will the Biden administration’s 2021 China policy impact the opportunity for data sharing across all the countries of the Mekong, whose economies depend on the river?

Optimizing the Mekong for all the countries that depend on it for food and energy will require China to share its data about the river’s…


Credit: Rachel Towne. Used through a Creative Commons license.

We must address our daunting equity issues for water & sanitation at home — and take advantage of the massive opportunities to create water abundance here and abroad.

The incoming Biden administration will be facing a plethora of challenges next January. But two challenges that cannot drop off its to-do list are 1) addressing equity issues for water and sanitation in the United States, which impact millions of people, and 2) cultivating some of the massive opportunities we have to create water abundance both here and abroad.

Below: My six priorities for the Biden administration in tackling the equity and abundance challenges.

Equity: Priorities

1) The Pandemic & Urban Water Access

What’s the problem? Many cities face water equity gaps between their richest and poorest areas — gaps that are…


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It’s not about infrastructure. It’s about our ability to manage cost of access.

The number of people in the United States without water access is the equivalent of a large metro area. Imagine if a U.S. city that size lost water access for its entire population. It would be a national scandal, worthy of immediate attention.

So the U.S. water access problem is a national scandal, worthy of our immediate attention.

When we think about U.S. water access issues, we usually think rural — about the rural poor on reservations, in the colonias, in the rural South, in Alaska, in Hawaii. We need federally focused dollars and a research center to address this…


Catherine Coleman Flowers. Credit: Columbia GSAPP — Legacies of Emergency Management; CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=94894935

2020 MacArthur “Genius” Grant winner Catherine Coleman Flowers on how millions in the U.S. lack access to water and wastewater treatment — and what we can do about it

Catherine Coleman Flowers is the founding director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice in Montgomery, Alabama and a senior fellow at the Equal Justice Initiative. Catherine is a pioneer in working to address the lack of wastewater in rural communities in the United States — work that has just been recognized by the MacArthur Foundation, which just announced as a recipient of a 2020 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant. …


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Why Investment in Social Infrastructure is Crucial to the Success of New Tech

Just under 2 million people living in the United States today do not have access to running water in their homes. Instead they collect and trade safe drinking water in buckets and milk jugs. And they’re mostly people of color.

Simply put: Water is a major equity issue here in the US as well as around the world. And it will continue to be if the solutions the federal government and researchers continue to prioritize tech and science solutions without also building the supporting social infrastructure those solutions need to succeed.

Example: Helicoptering shiny, new, one-size-fits-all water treatment kiosks into…


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A Conversation with RCAP’s Nathan Ohle & Laura Landes

Technology solutions alone don’t solve water access problems for the 2 million people in the United States who have to get their water at the nearest Walmart or by trading goods and services for milk jugs full of it. We need also to understand which investments in social infrastructure — from new business models to informal governance structures to enforce public health standards — will accelerate uptake of new technology.

That’s why the National Science Foundation (NSF) has just awarded ASU/Future H2O a five-year grant to examine the role investments in social infrastructure play in the success of new water…

John Sabo

Director, Arizona State’s Future H2O

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