Durham, N.C. – Few things are as essential to life as water and access to it. That’s why three Duke University student groups are joining forces to hold “The Value of Water” symposium from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28th at Field Auditorium in Grainger Hall.

Speakers from government, nonprofits, corporations and academia will explore how water issues – especially growing concerns about water quality and water availability – impact the world. They’ll also investigate possible solutions to help ensure that we use this limited resource wisely and value it appropriately at a time of climate change, more frequent droughts and rising human demand.

The free daylong symposium is being organized by Duke Water Network, the Student Association for Wetland Scientists and the Ocean Policy Working Group,

“Water is essential and invaluable, and keeps our environment healthy, our economies growing, and our cities running” said Rachel Bash, co-president of Duke Water Network and a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) student in water resources management at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “This symposium will explore the valuation of water resources, the impacts of resource extraction on sustainability and water resources, and the financing solutions in play that better quantify the value we place on water resources.”

“Everyone who needs water in their daily life should come. Students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to engage with professionals from private industries, government, nonprofits and academia,” said Ruby Stanmyer, secretary of Duke Water Network, who is also pursuing an MEM in water resources management at the Nicholas School. 

Margaret M. Brady, coordinator of NOAA Fisheries, and Emilio Tenuta, vice president of corporate sustainability at Ecolab, will present the symposium’s two keynote addresses.  

Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at the Nicholas School, will moderate the morning plenary, “Impacts of Resource Extraction on Sustainability and Water Resources.”

Martin Doyle, professor of river systems science and policy, will moderate Tenuta’s lunchtime keynote.

Dan Vermeer, executive director of the Center for Energy, Development and the Global Environment at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, will moderate the afternoon plenary on “Financing Solutions.”

Plenary panelists include experts from MIT’s Materials Systems Laboratory; the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality; the University of North Carolina Center on Financial Risk in Environmental Systems; Sea Ahead Blue Technology; Quantified Ventures; and Resource Environmental Solutions.  

Registration, an event schedule and a complete list of speaker bios are available on the Duke Water Network website, which will also host a live webcast for those who cannot attend the symposium in person. 

Day-of-event sign-in will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the common area outside Field Auditorium. An afternoon reception will be held at 4 p.m. in the Grainger Hall Art Gallery. 

Grainger Hall is located at 9 Circuit Drive on Duke’s West Campus.


The Value of Water digital flyer