The hardest problems we face in ensuring a supply of clean water are complex and multidisciplinary. The 2016 MIT Water Summit brought together a water community from different disciplines and sectors to learn, discuss, and explore the current and future state of water supply. Some of the questions addressed in the Summit include: How can big data help to build a smarter water utility? How can complex issues of water ownership be resolved? What are some of the lessons learned from recent water quality issues? How do big infrastructure decisions get made? How can we improve upon current funding models for water utilities? What public and private sources of investment are available to water start-ups?

Check out our 2016 Summit Highlights and Summary here!

Interested in viewing our 2016 Summit Highlights and Summary?  

Keynote speakers

George Hawkins, DC Water


Stephen Estes-Smargiassi, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)


Christopher Gasson, Global Water Intelligence magazine and Amane Advisors

Panel - Visions for the Future

How do we create more efficient and sustainable water cycles for our future? How can we adapt to a changing climate, increasing urbanization and growing populations? What role will new technology and design play?


Dr. Harold G. Fravel, Jr., American Membrane Technology Association

George Hawkins, CEO and GM of DC Water

Professor James Wescoat, MIT Department of Architecture, MIT Tata Center

Dr. Luis Montestruque, President and CTO of EmNet

Panel - The Role of Policy

How should policy pave the way for the future utility development? This panel explored the intersection of water and public health issues, policy’s role in promoting the utility of the future, and the challenges of the current regulatory environment.


Mary Barry, Executive Director of New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA)

Professor Gabriella Carolini, MIT Department of Urban Studies & Planning

Dr. Joseph Cotruvo, President of Joseph Cotruvo & Associates, Water, Environment and Public Health Consultants

Michael Murphy, Director of Water Innovation at Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)

Panel - The Role of Economics

How do we pay for the future water utility? This panel explored financing challenges and opportunities, and discussed the role of both utilities and the private sector in water supply financing.


Marcus Gay, Executive Director of New England Water Innovation Network (NEWIN)

Dr. Alexander Heil, Chief Economist of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

Francesca McCann, Business Development Director of InfraManagement Group at Black & Veatch

Ed McCormick, President of McCormick Strategic Water Management, LLC

Panel - Utility & Industry Partnerships

How do we transition from vision to reality?  This panel focused on how to meet the major challenges faced by the water sector in redesigning utilities, and how industry should work together in collaboration with utilities and the public to increase efficiency, maintain quality, reach sustainability, all the while generating value.


Josh Adler, Founder and CEO of Sourcewater

Anupam Bhargava,VP of Advanced Technology & Innovation at Xylem Inc.

Stephen Pike, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)

Windsor Sung, Engineer 

Panel - Academia to Markets

How should those performing academic research look to have an impact in the competitive space of water markets? Bringing together successful innovators from academia both from the student and facilitator perspective, this panel focused on how to transition promising technology from the lab to market. 


Professor John Lienhard V, MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering, Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS)

Allison Deines, Director of Special Projects at Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF)

Dr. Prakash Govindan, Co-Founder and CTO of Gradiant Corporation

Georgina Campbell Flatter, Executive Director of The Legatum Center, and Lecturer in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management at MIT Sloan

Viewpoints: Conclusions & A Look Ahead


Christopher Gasson, Publisher of Global Water Intelligence (GWI)

Tom Pankratz, Editor of GWI's Water Desalination Report

Renee Robins, Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel World Water & Food Security Lab (J-WAFS)

Working Groups

To wrap up the summit’s dialogue on the future of water utilities, participants got together in two working groups focusing on "Boston's water distribution & sewage systems" and "Wastewater treatment & recovery at MIT." The groups brainstormed ideas for the elaboration of action plans, creating a tangible result for participants and the broader community.

Technology Showcase

The following companies and organizations presented their work at the Technology Showcase in the 2016 Summit.

Poster Session

Posters presented at the 2016 MIT Water Summit:

The paradoxical role of groundwater: Israeli-Palestinian case - Ludmilla Amber, McGill University

The impact of real-time online water quality data on contaminant control and regulation - Rick Bacon, Aqua Metrology Systems

Designing Stormwater Wetlands for Cities - Celina Balderas-Guzman, MIT

Community Tools and Support for Managing Environmental Data - Liza Brazil, Consortium of Universities for  the Advancement of Hydrologic Science

Urban Water Systems Tool - Yannis Orfanos, Harvard

Tapping into Water in al Azza - Jessica Norriss, Tufts / WSSS

The Political Water Web of the United States - Omar Hammed, CUNY City College

A more resilient campus through water reuse - Bob Salvatelli, Sustainable Water

Biochar-based fertilizer has potential to reduce agricultural water demand - Kevin Kung, MIT
Working Towards Zero Net Energy Water Facilities in Massachusetts - Ann Lowery, State Gov. (MassDEP) 

Perception of smart infrastructures and their attributes: A stated preference analysis with water professionals - Ting Meng, MIT

Ion-selective Electrodialysis (ISED) - Kosher Nayar, MIT

Sustainable Water Utilities of the Future: Role of Technology & Global Policy Agendas - Donovan Guttieres, MIT

The role of design in green infrastructure and creating multifunctional infrastructure - Samantha  Cohen, MIT

Thinking outside the 'water box' in the Detroit River Area of Concern - Allison Turner, University of Waterloo