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january, 2017

26jan4:00 pm"Water — the next carbon", a lecture by Arjen HoekstraCivil & Environmental Engineering Distinguished Speaker

Event Details

Reception to follow lecture.

Abstract: Freshwater is humanity’s most valuable resource — we all depend on clean freshwater for survival. It is also a key element in our economies: virtually every product process from agriculture to manufacturing to energy production relies on vast amounts on water. In a de-fossilized world, with increasing dependence on bioenergy, global demand will quickly rise. Water scarcity already affects four billion people for at least one month per year, which will increase with climate change. In order to understand the complex economy of water consumption, water shortages and pollution, the problem needs to be considered from a global perspective. Many countries have significantly externalized their water footprint, importing water-intensive goods from elsewhere. This puts pressure on the water resources in the exporting regions, where too often mechanisms for wise water governance and conservation are lacking. Many water problems are thus closely tied to the structure of the global economy. Fair allocation of limited water resources over competing demands is one of the greatest challenges of the coming century. We have to reduce our water footprint by a combination of increasing water productivities and adjusting our consumption patterns – e.g. towards less meat. The challenges are substantial: the U.S. will have to reduce its water footprint by two-thirds. Consumers, governments, companies and investors are all essential players to move in a direction of more sustainable use of our most precious resource.

Biography: Arjen Hoekstra is a Professor of Water Management at the University of Twente, the Netherlands. He is an expert on water scarcity, globalization, the water-food-energy nexus and sustainable water solutions. As creator of the water footprint concept he laid the foundation of a new interdisciplinary research field, addressing the relations between water management, consumption, and trade. Hoekstra is founder of the Water Footprint Network and chair of its Supervisory Board. He has advised governments, civil society organizations, and companies. His books include “The Water Footprint of Modern Consumer Society” and “Globalization of Water.”

More info:


(Thursday) 4:00 pm


NCSA Auditorium

1205 W Clark St, Urbana, IL 61801


Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering