“Reflected in Water”
A conversation on development, resilience and inequalities
Head of EPFL’s Laboratory of Ecohydrology
Winner of the Stockholm Water Prize 2023
Wednesday May 31, 2023 | 12:15pm | Forum Rolex
My take is: Time is ripe to rethink the distributive justice of water resources management and to reduce inequalities on a global scale.
- 12:00 pm
- 12:15 pm
Welcome words – Prof. D. Andrew Barry, Head of the EPFL Environmental Engineering Institute
- 12:25 pm
Talk “Reflected in Water”
Prof. Andrea Rinaldo
Laboratory of Ecohydrology ECHO/IIE/ENAC at EPFL
and Winner of the Stockholm Water Prize 2023
- 1:00 pm
Interview by Marc-Antoine Courtois, Student, Section of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
- 1:15 pm
- 1:30 pm
End & lunch bags distribution
Prof. Andrea Rinaldo is an EPFL expert in hydrology, Head of EPFL’s Laboratory of Ecohydrology – ENAC Faculty – since 2008 and is also a Professor at the University of Padua.
He was selected as the 2023 winner of the Stockholm Water Prize – the world’s most prestigious award in water research.
The work he has completed throughout his career focuses on the study of water flow and, in particular, river networks, true “ecological corridors” that explain the movements of living organisms and certain fundamental biological phenomena.
Born in 1954 in Venice – a “floating city” that undoubtedly shaped his career interest in water – in 1954, Rinaldo has made an outstanding contribution to his field. He is the author of over 300 journal articles as well as several books published by major scientific publishing houses. He has also carried out field research in Haiti, Burkina Faso, South Sudan and other countries.
During his conference, Professor Andrea Rinaldo will discuss how the spread of diseases, the loss of biodiversity and the inequalities between populations on a global scale are all problems that are reflected in water, and what tools are available to remedy them.
Will future large-scale water resources plans make compelling arguments for including the reduction of the loss of biodiversity across scales in fluvial landscapea?
Is the structure of river networks a template for large-scale spread of waterborne disease infections?
Are we capable to provide 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.
Laboratory of Ecohydrology ECHO/IIE/ENAC, EPFL