For the 2017 MIT Water Summit, we brought together representatives of industry, academia, government, and NGOs to reflect upon the most pressing questions in the water sector. As populations continue to grow and demand for food rises, the role of water in meeting future food needs will become increasingly critical. The 2017 MIT Water Summit focused on issues at the heart of the food-water nexus, reflected on the role of water in food production – both in agriculture and aquaculture – and evaluated the innovation, policy, and technologies required to support healthy and sustainable communities.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Chandra Madramootoo, McGill University


Rajiv Singh, Rabobank


Dr. Christopher Briggs, Water Footprint Network

Panel - Groundwater Resources

Groundwater resources are essential to the development and sustainability of the food-water nexus.  Aquifers are at risk of contamination and over pumping as our communities use what they need for agriculture, municipal, and industry.  How can we use groundwater resources more efficiently in the future?  How will groundwater resources change over time?  What impact will the private sector have on groundwater resources?


Professor Liese Dallbauman, Northwestern University

Professor Dennis McLaughlin, MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Timothy Griffin, Director of the Agriculture, Food, and Environment Program at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Giovanni Piccinni, Global Production Sustainability Lead, Monsanto Company

Panel - Surface Water Pollution

Surface water is a primary source of water for agricultural, industrial, and household use.  Contaminants from industrial waste, stormwater, wastewater, and agricultural runoff are polluting many of our surface water sources.  How is surface water regulation changing?  What are the latest technologies designed to combat surface water pollution?  How can we curb harmful practices?


Steve Winnett, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Allison Thomson, Science and Research Director at Field to Market

Marcia DeLonge, Senior Scientist in the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists

Dr. Tim Randhir, UMass Amherst Department of Environmental Conservation

Panel - Uncertain Water Future

Uncertainty in the global political atmosphere, climate change, and resource management play a large role in today's world.  How will climate change impact food and water resources?  What roles do politics and the economics of water play?  What technologies are available to reduce uncertainty?


Steven Schonberger, World Bank, Middle East and North Africa Region

Dr. Kenneth Strzepek, MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

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

Marshall Moutenot, Founder of Upstream Tech

Richael Young, Cofounder and CEO of Mammoth Trading

Panel - Meat

Creating *meat* - the primary source of protein for many Americans - is extremely water intensive.  What role does meat play in global water usage?  What technologies and strategies are available to catalyze change?  How will this impact farmers?


Eliza Roberts, Ceres

Bill Gill, Assistant Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Smithfield

Nancy Labbe, Senior Program Officer for Ranching and Conservation at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

David Kanter, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at NYU

Panel - Fisheries and Aquaculture

What is aquaculture?  Why is aquaculture important?  What impact does aquaculture have on the local ecology?  How do the economics of aquaculture play out?  What role does policy have on global aquaculture?  What are the aquaculture technologies to watch?


Wally Stevens, President of the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation and Executive Director of the Global Aquaculture Alliance

Robert Jones, Global Aquaculture Lead at The Nature Conservancy

Professor Ta Herrera, Bowdoin, Microeconomics

Professor Anne Kapuscinski, Dartmouth

The Path Forward


Annette Huber-Lee, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)

Mark Rosegrant, Director of the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute

Frederick Kaufman, Professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Mark York, President and Cofounder of Tractors for Africa and consultant at McKinsey

Water Career Panel


Professor Liese Dallbauman, Northwestern University

Dr. Christopher Briggs, Water Footprint Network

Rajiv Singh, Rabobank

Technology Showcase

The following organizations presented their work at the Technology Showcase in the 2017 Summit.


Poster Session

Posters presented at the 2017 MIT Water Summit:

Riverbank Filtration at the Water-Food-Energy Nexus
Thomas Boving, University of Rhode Island

The role of gender in water, and food provision, in rural underdeveloped areas
Christiana Smyrilli, MIT

Electrochemical Degradation of Cypermethrin Pesticide on a SnO2 Anode
Houceine Bouya, Salem State

Effect of temperature on nanofiltration membranes
Yagnaseni Roy, MIT

Solar Water Pumps: Technical, systems and business model approaches to evaluation
Brennan Lake, Amit Gandhi and Jonars Spielberg, TechXLab Inc. and MIT

Degradation of organic pollutants by hydroxyl radicals produced from the oxygenation of reduced montmorillonite
Weiyu Yao, Harvard

Activated Carbon Sediment Amendment to Reduce Bioaccumulation During Ongoing Pollution – a Sediment Mesocosm Study with Three Organisms of Different Functional Traits
Alice Wang, Northeastern University

Phage Therapy for Aquaculture
Fatima Hussain, MIT

Agriculture intensification and Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Laura Barley, Tufts University

Climate change at the food-water nexus in Africa
Amy Dale, MIT

Planning for Scarcity: Future of Irrigation Agriculture and Land Use Management in Jordan Valley
Sera Tolgay, MIT

Wastewater Bazaar
Alka Palrecha and Ranu Singh, MIT

A Landscape Approach for Navigating Municipal Purchase of Agricultural Water Rights
Sourav Biswas

Big data and remote sensing for understanding crop yields and crop water use  
Tiziana Smith, MIT

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria on Cape Cod Beaches
Megan May, MIT

Blue Cities /Charles River Watershed Association
Mande Pallavi, Charles River Watershed Association

Implementation of a CWERC (Community Water and Energy Resource Center) in an urban setting
Julie Wood, Charles River Watershed Association