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🤖 "A Tinder For Water Nerds"

Water We Talking About?

Photo by Good Faces Agency / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Hosts: Jim Lauria & Adam Tank
Guest: Peter Fiske | Executive Director | National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI)
Category: 🤖 Technology

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[4:25] “On February 12, 2020, NAWI was […] born and we began to build the research program. […] It’s a 5 years, $100 million investment from the Department of Energy to revolutionize desalination technologies. The program, by design, is a relatively early stage applied research program. So, not so much a focus on piloting very promising technologies that are […] just emerging onto the marketplace. […] This is to try to seed the ground with the next generation of technologies that will really volt desalination into a quantum leap in performance in terms of cost and energy and also enable desalination to be much more widely used, in a much more wide range of environments, where we have, what I call non traditional water, water that’s not economic to treat, so we’re just throwing it away - it’s wastewater essentially. Can we essentially use those non traditional water sources and essentially augment our traditional freshwater based water supply.”

[6:38] “For us […] really the top priority […] is to engage the water community. […] So, the number one thing I try to do […] is to promote engagement. […] One of the things practically, the challenge that we have, is even though we have […] a rich group of academic universities and we have these wonderful national labs, there is not a lot of connectivity into the sort of frontier of what’s happening in water treatment today. A lot of gap exists. And so we are really trying to bring […] communities together.”

[7:46] “And one way that we are doing that is we are gonna be building, as part of our program, essentially a portal, where members can come in and set up profiles and then have immediate transparency to everybody else in the community. […] You can immediately do searches and find […] utilities […], other companies […]. We like to think of it […] as the Tinder for Water Nerds. […] Mostly, […] water utilities and a lot of water managers still operate in isolation […]. And going to an AWWA meeting is […] the only time they are getting out. And so we need to help the community be able to connect to these fabulous resources that would do a lot of good for water, but what they simply aren’t aware of. It’s my personal mission to try to break down those barriers and make those connections.”

[12:24] “There [are] some fascinating things we need to rethink about our industry. […] I think if you talk to most seasoned water managers, there is an element to, the less the public knows, the better. […] I think that there is this attitude that […] water chemistry is complicated, […] we have these water quality reports, let’s just put them out in like 10 point font and […] I want people to get up in the morning, take a shower and the last thing I want them to think about is me. […] I get that it’s tough messaging complex issues about environment, water quality, health. It’s tough to message that to the public and it’s easy to think maybe the best thing is just be quiet and be invisible.”

[14:17] “I think in addition to teaching […] the climate value of desalination, we need to teach our operators and our managers to understand the use of metaphor and comparisons better. One of the things that people always knock desal about is […] energy [use]. You have to point at people, did you take a shower this morning? […] Did you use hot water? […] The energy it took to heat that water to a comfortable temperature [is] more than twice the energy that would be required to desalinate the equivalent amount of seawater. So if you think that energy is too much for desalination, why [aren’t] you taking cold showers? So we gotta sometimes use and frame our arguments so that people understand it.”

Rating: 💧💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 29 min | 🗓️ 03/01/2021
✅ Time saved: 27 min

Additional Links:
Water Online
Pax Water Technologies