S.T. Lee Lecture with Andrea Rinaldo

ST Lee Lecture Andrea Rinaldo

S.T. Lee Public Lecture
Reflected in Water: A Conversation on Development, Resilience and Inequalities
Andrea Rinaldo

Will future large-scale water resources plans make compelling arguments for including the reduction of the loss of biodiversity across scales in fluvial landscapes? Is the structure of river networks a template for the large-scale spread of waterborne disease infections? Are we capable of providing solid economic arguments for preventing water development schemes in the light of the social and economic cost of predicted increased burden of disease they would bring? Do biological invasions, including historic population migrations that shaped human community compositions as we see them now, depend on physical constraints like the waterscape acting as the substrate for their dispersal?
Social discounting applied to public policies concerned with the preservation of the natural capital needs quantitative assessments, and thus environmental science and engineering. Key is our capability to assess and predict the fate of water controls on living communities. My take is: Time is ripe to rethink the distributive justice of water resources management and to reduce inequalities on a global scale. When I travel in the south of the world, I see that access to safe water distribution networks is socially biased, but the ownership of a cell phone is not. When we acknowledge that large-scale water management plans may cause loss of biodiversity or foster the spread of poverty-reinforcing disease, we account easily for the GDP impact of improved agriculture on the local economy, but do not yet put a price tag on the ecosystem services we lose for good, nor to the true cost of disease. This has to change. We now have the tools––reflected in water.

Andrea Rinaldo
Recipient of the 2023 Stockholm Water Prize
Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources, École Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne; Director, Laboratory of Ecohydrology ECHO/ISTE/ENAC Facultè ENAC Professor, Università di Padova
President, Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, Venice

Tuesday, April 9, 2024
5:00 p.m. | Wolfensohn Hall

This public lecture is made possible by the Dr. S. T. Lee Fund for Historical Studies.

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S.T. Lee Lecture: Reflected in Water: A Conversation on Development, Resilience and Inequalities - April 9, 2024

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Date & Time

April 09, 2024 | 5:00pm


Wolfensohn Hall