Blue Tech Forum | Professor David Sedlak:
Urban water and sewerage systems have evolved over millennia and learnings from the past have much to teach about the next wave of innovation. Professor David Sedlak from University of California Berkeley shares his thoughts with Paul O’Callaghan, chief executive of BlueTech Research.
David Sedlak is Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and his research has focused on chemical contaminants and the development of sustainable systems to manage water resources.
He was moved to write Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource, his accessible book on the historical development of urban water systems, following interactions with the general public over the introduction of potable water recycling.
“I have a background as an environmental chemist and in the 1990s I became interested in potable water recycling and whether the process posed a risk to human health. Talking to utilities and members of the public there was so much misunderstanding and there didn’t seem to be any place people could find out how it worked.”
What Sedlak discovered through his deep-dive into the history of urban water systems was that the history of solving problems in water infrastructure was not one of incremental change and development, but rather of rapid catch-up when the problems became too big to ignore.
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