Ezra's Round Table / Systems Seminar: Andrea Rinaldo (EPFL)


Frank H. T. Rhodes Hall 253


Watch it on Zoom

Reflected in Water: Ecohydrology, Resilience, and Inequalities

Will future large-scale water resources plans make compelling arguments for including the reduction of the loss of biodiversity across scales in fluvial landscapes? Is the structure of river networks a template for large-scale spread of waterborne disease infections?  Are we capable to provide solid economic arguments for preventing water development schemes in the light of the social and economic cost of predicted increased burden of disease they would bring? Do biological invasions, including historic population migrations that shaped human community compositions as we see them now, depend on physical constraints like the waterscape acting as the substrate for their dispersal?  Social discounting applied to public policies concerned with the preservation of the natural capital needs quantitative assessments, and thus environmental science and engineering. Key is our capability to assess and predict the fate of water controls on living communities. My take:  time is ripe to rethink the distributive justice of water resources management and to reduce inequalities on a global scale. We now have the tools – reflected in water.

Andrea Rinaldo graduated summa cum laude in hydraulic engineering at the University of Padua (1978) and got his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1983. Degrees honoris causa include a Doctorate of Science from Université du Québec-Laval & INRS (2014) and a degree in environmental engineering from the University of Trento (2024).  Full Professor since 1985, he currently holds Chairs at the University of Padua (hydraulic constructions) and at the École Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne (hydrology and water resources)  where he has directed the Laboratory of Ecohydrology since 2008. Among recognitions, he is a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2002), the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (2006), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2012), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2018), and Accademia dei Lincei, the Italian National Academy of Sciences. He has won the AGU’s Hydrology Award (1999) and Horton medal (2023), EGU’s Dalton Medal (2005), the International Tartufari prize for the Geosciences (2014), and the 4th Prince Sultan Abdulaziz International Water prize (2010). In 2023 he received the Stockholm Water Prize, the highest recognition for water studies.