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21st Century Water Resiliency Challenges: Trends and Opportunities

This event will be webcast live on this page beginning at 12:45 pm.

The series of hurricanes and storms and subsequent flooding that affected the United States in 2017 highlight the need to prudently invest in water resiliency for the future. This is a unique moment for Greater Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast to adopt innovative technologies, best practices and rebuilding strategies to ensure more resilient communities, businesses and civic sectors. It can be a time to integrate successful approaches from around the world through academic, industry, government, foundation and entrepreneurial partnerships. There is also the potential to demonstrate leadership for Texas and other regions as Greater Houston works to develop robust and adaptive infrastructures and services capable of withstanding the impact — and shortening the recovery — from future disruptive events. The institute brought together local, regional and international experts to share the lessons they have learned in responding to extreme water challenges. The conversation spanned immediate emergency response, longer-term planning strategies, and innovations and partnerships to help achieve water resiliency in the 21st century.

Follow @BakerInstitute on Twitter and join the conversation online with #BakerEnergy.


To view the entire conference, please click below:


International Lessons

Innovative Water Technology Demonstartion Hub

National Strategies for Water Innovation and Resiliency





1:00 pm




Linda Capuano, Ph.D.
Fellow in Energy Technology, Center for Energy Studies, Baker Institute

Dick Evans
Former Chairman, Cullen Frost Bank; and Co-chairman, Accelerate H2O Advisory Committee

Flood Resiliency Update

Stephen Costello
Chief Resilience Officer and "Flood Czar," City Houston

1:45 pm



International Lessons on Innovation and Resiliency to Extreme Water Events

Examples of lasting international strategies for integrated urban designs, innovative technical solutions, and alternative public and private sector practices that could be adapted for Greater Houston and Texas

Moderator: Dale Morris, Senior Economist and U.S. Water Management Coordinator, Royal Netherlands Embassy

The Netherlands has established a team of global experts to address emergency response, ongoing water challenges and long-term resiliency strategies that have the potential to be adapted for Texas and other U.S. regions after Hurricanes Harvey, Katrina and Sandy. Morris will address a comprehensive, strategic plan that includes infrastructure, operations, risk mitigation and technology-innovation development.

Danny Lacker* 
Senior Vice President, Water Security and Emergency Services Divison, Israel Water Authority

The Israel Water Authority, in conjunction with the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources and Mekorot, the Israeli national water company, has organized rapid emergency response to water quality challenges, which includes pre-positioned water resource delivery to 30,000 customers and industrial end users. These delivery platforms have provided solutions for a variety of extreme water events in Israel, as well as in remote locations for the United Nations. In addition, the Israel Water Authority is the lead agency for connecting water management with cyber security and the Internet of Things data exchange applications.

Karoly Gombas*
Representative, Danube River Basin Initiative

The Danube River Basin Initiative is a multicountry, multi-institutional approach to long-term flood and storm management issues that impact various ports, facilities, public and private infrastructure, and business continuity and community resilience. Using geographic information systems and other tools for digital mapping, data collection and analytics, the initiative has developed innovations that have the potential to address upstream flood-related risks and impacts to Greater Houston, including areas managed by the Trinity, Colorado, Brazos and Neches River Authorities.

Run Wang, Ph.D.*
Hubei University, and "Sponge City" Representative, Wuhan, China

After the September 2016 flood in Wuhan and Hubei Province — which was similar to Hurricane Harvey in terms of magnitude and impact — the region was designated as the pilot location for the national and provincial Sponge City Initiative to address fast-paced growth, reduction in ground cover and other effects of economic success that require immediate and long-term sustainable water management and resiliency. Wang is the lead contact for the region.

Piet Dircke
Global Leader for Water Management, Arcadis

*Joining via video conference

3:15 pm




Refreshments in Doré Commons

3:30 pm


Innovative Water Technology Demonstration Hub for Municipal Optimization and Water Resiliency

Carol Haddock
Interim Director, Public Works & Engineering, City of Houston

Richard Seline
Executive Director, Accelerate H2O

3:45 pm



National Strategies for Water Innovation and Resiliency

Examples of coordinated and collaborative strategies for regional water innovation and resiliency programs, resource allocation and project implementation: How adapting global strategies and technology-driven investments can shape water resiliency for long-term regional growth and economic competitiveness

Russ Conser
Former Senior Vice President, Shell GameChanger; and Member, Accelerate H2O Advisory Board

Justin Ehrenwerth
President and CEO, The Water Institute of the Gulf

David Waggonner
President, Waggonner & Ball Architects; and Senior Advisor to Hurricane Sandy and Northeast U.S. Recovery-Rebuild Programs

4:45 pm


Summary, Next Steps and Closing Remarks

Richard Seline
Executive Director, Accelerate H2O

Linda Capuano, Ph.D.
Fellow in Energy Technology, Center for Energy Studies, Baker Institute

5:00 pm



Networking and refreshments in Doré Commons



Mon, Dec. 4, 2017
1 p.m. - 6 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central

Event has ended


James A. Baker III Hall
Rice University's Baker Institute – 6100 Main St
Houston, TX 77005

Kelly International Conference Facility