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Water Experts Convene in Santa Fe to Envision the Future

A splash of open water to convey an abundance of H2O.
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Technology, policy, and the future of water were the subjects tackled by a global collection of experts in Santa Fe on June 20-21, 2024, at the Next Generation Water Summit.

Santa Fe was the site of a very forward-looking water use conference in late June. The Next Generation Water Summit held here annually for the past seven years, featured speakers in the field from all over the country and world to discuss and debate the latest developments in getting the most out of our water supply.

The keynote speaker, David Sedlak, is an author and professor at UC Berkeley. He kicked it off with a positive take on where we go from here, with an emphasis on using emerging technology to get to a place where individual structures take greater responsibility for managing their own water supply.

“People talk about net zero energy buildings. Now we’re starting to talk about net zero water buildings. And I think that this is a really intriguing idea that could let us take the next step in expanding our water resources and reducing our reliance on imported water,” Sedlak said.

Sedlak says Japan, in efforts to counteract the impact of potential earthquakes has been experimenting with techniques, but he also cited an example of a place in this country that could set an model for New Mexico and elsewhere.

“Here in the United States, the project that probably had the most impact on the way people think about building scale water reuse or premise scale reuse was Battery Park City in New York City, which was built in the early 2000s. It's got about 10,000 residential units and about 35,000 people using the shops and commercial spaces in the area.

“And about a quarter of the wastewater produced in those buildings is recycled. They have membrane bioreactor, wastewater treatment plants. They have, uh, chlorination systems and they reuse that water for toilet flushing, for cooling towers,” added Sedlak.

Sedlak says that the New York project earned tax incentives from the project. Residents of Santa Fe County can view sessions from the water conference for the next thirty days. Information is at the Next Generation Water Summit website.

 

Rob Hochschild’s professional radio career began in the late 1980s, when he worked as a news reporter at WCIB on Cape Cod and as news director for WKVA in central Pennsylvania. Prior to moving to New Mexico, he worked for Boston public radio stations WGBH, WBUR, and WUMB in a range of roles, including news reporter/anchor and music host. His career with KSFR began in September 2023, when, as a volunteer, he launched a music show called Mosaic.