MIT Water Summit brings experts together to discuss global water challenges

More than 200 people attend second annual summit organized by the MIT Water Club.

By: Alissa Mallinson | MIT News | Department of Mechanical Engineering

 As the world’s population sprints toward larger and larger numbers, concerns about water scarcity follow closely behind. There are already disproportionate levels of water to need — especially in regions where infrastructure is lacking and rainfall over land cannot satisfy the local demand.

This past December, the second annual MIT Water Summit, organized by the MIT Water Club and directed by member Adam Weiner, a master’s-degree student in mechanical engineering, brought more than 200 students, faculty, business leaders, technologists, and investors together on MIT’s campus to discuss global water challenges and possible solutions. The two-day event was sponsored by the Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab, directed by Professor John Lienhard.

The 2014 MIT Water Summit team (left-right): Ronan McGovern, Matthew Willner, Liz Voeller, Adam Weiner, and Greg Thiel.

The summit, which was kicked off by speaker Daniel Bena, the senior director of sustainable development at PepsiCo, was organized into three main topics of conversation: water and our food security; water and our cities; and water and our industries. During each segment, several speakers were invited to present, including Professor Elfatih Eltahir, MIT’s associate department head of civil engineering; Earl Jones, chairman of the New England Water Innovation Network; MIT civil engineering alumnus Carlos Riva, CEO of Poseidon Water; IFC-World Bank senior operations officer Alastair Morrison; and Ashish Aneja, advanced technologies leader at GE Water & Process Technologies, among many others.

“Our mission is to invigorate current research and inspire new collaborations in water technology and policy at MIT and beyond,” says Weiner about the event.

For more information about the MIT Water Summit, visit