• Pictured: A worker stands with a filter drying rack used in a ceramic water filter production facility. Jim Smith, who delivered one of UVA’s first Water Research Workshops, founded the PureMadi initiative, which helps create those facilities in South Africa.

    The Global Water Initiative and affiliated faculty members have led thought-leadership events at UVA and beyond to address the world’s water challenge.

  • April 2018

    18 Apri 2018
    Screening of What Lies Upstream
    followed by panel discussion with Cale Jaffe (we co-sponsor)

    Jefferson Maddison Regional Library, McIntire Room
    World Water Event

    16 April, 5:30-7:00 pm, Darden School of Business Room 50
    Panel Discussion: Impact Investing in Water: The Ecologist, Investor and Broker Perspective, featuring:
    Andrea Barrios, Rockefeller Foundation
    Disque Deane, founder, Water Asset Management
    Brian Richter, Sustainable Waters
    Kevin Schuyler, Cornerstone Partners
    World Water Event

    13 April, 1–3 p.m., Brooks Hall Commons
    Marama Muru-Lanning (University of Auckland, Anthropology, Director of James Henare Maori Research Center)
    Tupuna Awa: People and Politics of the Waikato River as part of Panel on Community Care for Country

    March 2018

    29, March 2018, Washington D.C.
    (by invitation only)
    D.C. Water's Blue Plains Water Treatment Plant and World Bank Water Group
    World Water Event

    31 March 2018, 10 a.m.–12 p.m., meet at Westminster Presbyterian Church
    Beta Bridge Stream Cleanup
    World Water Event

    22 March 2018, 5 p.m., Clark Hall 107 
    Screening of Ocean Cities, a documentary by Professor Tim Beatley
    World Water Event

    February 2018

    16 February 2018, 2-3:15 p.m., Olsson Hall 120 
    Keynote Address, Reducing Arsenic Exposure From Well Water in South Asia: Lessons Learned
    Professor  Lex Van Geen, Columbia University
    World Water Event

    13 February 2018, 3:30–4:30 p.m., Mechanical Engineering Building 205
    Julie Quinn: Designing Multireservoir Operations to Manage Food-Energy-Water Tradeoffs in Multipurpose River Basins

    1 February 2018, 3:30 p.m., Clark Hall 108 
    Paul Bukavecas, Virginia Commonwealth University

    NOVEMBER 2017

    16 November, Monroe Hall 134 
    Water Research Workshop with Band Lawrence (Environmental Science) and Molly Lipscomb (Batten Policy School)

    3 November, Monroe Hall 134 
    Water Research Workshop with Safa Montesharei (Maryland), and Salvi Asefi Najafabadi (GWI postdoc)

    OCTOBER 2017

    25 October 
    Damming Eden, Water Security in Turkey, Syria and Iraq by Julia Harte (Reuters)

    20 October 
    Water Research Workshop With Geoff Geise and Chris Gratien

    6 October 
    Frank Wolak (Stanford), organized by the Batten Public Policy Center

    SEPTEMBER 2017

    22 September 
    Water Research Workshop, Climate Change and Water with Deborah Lawrence


    At the workshop, UVA environmental and civil engineering Professor Teresa Culver presented her research on improving water management; UVA economics Professor Sheetal Sekhri presented her research on water in India and its links to globalization, political economy and health; and UVA Middle Eastern studies Professor Tess Farmer presented her research on the anthropology of water. The broader symposium included a discussion about the scope of a future UVA humanities lab focused on water, led by UVA history Professor Christian McMillen. UVA English Professor Debjani Ganguly of the Humanities Center and UVA anthropology Professor Jim Igoe also participated in the panel discussion on the potential humanities lab.


    Professor Christian McMillen presented his research on access to safe water and sanitation through a historical perspective. UVA public policy Professor Bill Shobe of the Cooper Institute presented his research on consignment auctions and applying them to improve water allocations.


    • 13 April –   Two Years After Flint: Water Quality, Infrastructure and Social Justice  – Virginia Tech Professor Amy Pruden, UVA School of Law Professor Cale Jaffe and McWane President and CEO Ruffner Page (MBA ’86) participated in a wide-ranging panel discussion about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, as well as water’s impact on public health.
    • 8 April – Water Quality Testing Clinic – Robbi Savage of the Rivanna Conservation Alliance led a field trip introducing the basics of the Rivanna River watershed and challenges around the Charlottesville, Virginia, area. The group also tested Rivanna River water quality.
    • 28 March – Keynote Address – University of California-Berkeley Professor David Sedlak, co-director of the Berkeley Water Center and director of the Institute for Environmental Science and Engineering, delivered a World Water Event keynote address on urban water infrastructure, based on his book Water 4.0. Sedlak summarized 2,500 years of water history and looked ahead, emphasizing two different paths for water infrastructure in the future.
    • 15 March – Amphibious Landscapes and Urban Wetlands – UVA School of Architecture Dean Ila Berman’s presentation provided a visual feast illustrating the dynamic interaction between city landscapes and their liquid environments. Berman examined unique water environment challenges in New Orleans, The Netherlands, Vienna and Venice. 


    University of California-Berkeley Professor David Sedlak presented the Environmental Science & Technology journal to about 20 students and faculty, clarifying which articles are fit for submission to the journal, of which he is the editor.


    Brian Richter, chief water scientist with The Nature Conservancy, and staff from UVA Sustainability and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority led a trek to the Charlottesville, Virginia, area’s newest reservoir. The tour was attended by more than 40 students. Darden School of Business Professor Peter 

    Debaere and Richter previously developed a case on the reservoir titled, “  Securing a City’s Future Water Supply: Building a Reservoir in Charlottesville, Virginia.”


    UVA environmental and civil engineering Professor Jim Smith presented on his drinking water purification solution, the Madi drop, and his nonprofit venture,   Pure Madi. UVA Darden School of Business Professor   Peter Debaere also introduced key insights at the heart of his   research on water markets and the global economics of water.


    UVA environmental science Professor Mike Pace presented his research on ecosystems, resilience and regime shifts. Brian Richter of The Nature Conservancy presented on global water scarcity and the changing crop composition in the United States and around the world.


    • 25 March – Storm Water Workshop: From Concept to Implementation – A panel of experts discussed the impact of the U.S. Clean Water Act on point-source water pollution. Rivanna Conservation Alliance Executive Director Robbi Savage provided expertise on congressional legislation; UVA environmental law Professor Jon Cannon, director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Program at UVA, provided expertise on federal regulation; Kristel Riddervold, environmental administrator of the city of Charlottesville, provided expertise on local storm water utilities; and Albemarle County Board Supervisor Ann Mallek provided expertise on local elected officials.
    • 19 March – Rivanna River Cleanup at Free Bridge and Meadow Creek – The event was led by the Rivanna Conservation Allaiance.
    • 18 March – Seminar – Jampel Dell’Angelo of the University of Maryland’s National Center for Socio-Environmental Synthesis presented her research on diagnosing the global water grab syndrome.
    • 16 March – Watershed Conservation: Why and Where It Makes Sense – The Nature Conservancy Director of Water Funds Daniel Shemie led a discussion at the UVA School of Architecture.
    • 29 February – Keynote Address – Nestle Chairman and former CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe delivered a Leadership Speaker Series keynote at the Darden School of Business about the global water challenges ahead and sat down with Darden Dean Scott Beardsley for a Darden Ideas to Action C-Suite Insights interview further discussing global water challenges as well as topics like leadership and global business. 

      Watch videos from this keynote.


    See the 2015 event flyer via PDF.

    • 1 April – Water Crisis in California: Opportunities for Innovation – Stanford University Professor Leon Szeptyki, Coca-Cola North America Director of Water Sustainability Jon Radtke and Walter Norley, CEO and founder of OnGol and UGMO Technologies, led a panel discussion on the severe drought in California and how it raised awareness on the key role water scarcity can play in society.
    • 30 March – Keynote Address – Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project and a Freshwater Fellow with the National Geographic Society presented a talk called Our Global Water Future: Solutions for a Thirsty World.
    • 21 March – Rivanna River Cleanup at Meadow Creek, Rivanna Reservoir and Freebridge – The event was held in collaboration with the Rivanna Conservation Alliance.
    • 20 March – Seminar – University of Maryland Professor Gerald Galloway presented his research through a seminar titled, How Wet Are You Willing to Get? Managing National Flood Risk in the Face of Climate Change and Population Growth.
    • 19 March – Moore Lecture – George Hornberger, University Distinguished Professor at Vanderbilt University, presented a lecture on agricultural decision-making and adaptation to precipitation trends in Sri Lanka.


    See the event flyer via PDF.

    • 21 March – Water and Health: A South African Case Study – Rebecca Dillingham of UVA’s Center for Global Health, Thomas Harrison Hunter Professor of International Medicine Richard Guerrant and a panel of experts discussed concerns over water in post-apartheid South Africa, and water’s specific inclusion in South Africa’s constitution as a human riht.
    • 21 March – Water Markets: Challenges and Opportunities – Ellen Hanak, director of water policy at the Public Policy Institute of California; Todd Votteler, executive manager of resource policy and stewardship at the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority; and George Wallace of Colorado State University discussed water challenges in California, Texas and Colorado as increased competition for water among cities, industry and agriculture rises in those states.
    • 21 March – Keynote Address – Jamie Pittock, director of international programs at the Fenner School of Environment and Society and UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Governance at Australian National University, delivered a keynote address on sustaining water in an era of climate change.


    Brian Richter, director of global freshwater strategies at The Nature Conservancy, presented a talk titled, Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability. The presentation covered the overuse and depletion of water resources from Texas to Australia as well as the real causes behind those shortages.