Research menu

Global Water Security: Pipe Dream or Reality?

Michael_NortonSpeaker

Michael Norton

When

Thursday 28 January 2016 at 1.15pm

Where

Room 3.15, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract

In Earth’s 45th millionth century a looming and global crisis of freshwater scarcity is on our doorstep; a crisis that is accelerating through our unbridled development, burgeoning demand for food and energy, and the effects of climate change. Only 0.1% of the total global water volume of 1.4 billion cubic kilometers is accessible freshwater; and we are already withdrawing one third of our accessible renewable water resource, much of which is needed to sustain our ecosystems and biodiversity. Estimates suggest that we would need to invest 5 times the current global rate in new water supplies if we are to meet projected demand in 20 years time.  With little chance of investment of such scale taking place, there is a compelling need for water professionals to emerge from their comfort zone. Engineers can play a pivotal role in addressing the water sustainability challenges, by engaging with politicians, decision-makers and those with influencing power. New models for integrated water management are needed to address complex multi-stakeholder demand patterns. Whilst we can and should develop cost efficient water technology, water professionals must grasp this moment to put themselves at the center of water science, technology, politics, environment and economics.

Biography

Michael Norton MBE is a civil engineer with over 40 years of professional experience in the fields of water resources, urban water, and the environment. He is an internationally recognised expert on water, and his current focus is on providing thought-leadership in the fields of water scarcity and water security. Michael has authored a number of papers on water security and is a regular speaker at conferences on related topics. He has led major water studies and projects in Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Asia. Michael is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (and former Chair of the Water Expert Panel) and Fellow of Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. He is Research Collaborator at Bristol University and has served as Professor Associate at Brunel University, Chair of Programme Advisory Committee, Cranfield University School of Water Science, and visiting lecturer at Oxford University School of Geography. He worked with the World Economic Forum’s water initiative from 2008 to 2011. Michael was Chair of the Water Security Programme Advisory Group of the Natural Environment Research Council. After 30 years in senior roles at Halcrow (now Ch2MHill) and AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, Michael now runs his own specialist company Michael Norton Water Consultancy. He was awarded the MBE by the Queen in 2009 in recognition of his services to water and to international trade. Michael’s current projects include a review for the Global Green Growth Institute of financial instruments applicable to water investment in Peru, and specialist technical advice to the Inter American Development Bank relating to a major wastewater treatment plant in Panama.