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Tuesday 08 Mar 2016Toward sustainability of urban water systems: interdependencies with other infrastructure

Professor Liz Varga - Cranfield University

Harrison 170 13:30-14:30

Water systems are a key component of city infrastructure providing critical services by resourcing, supplying and removing water for residents, businesses and other stakeholders. Uncertainty about water futures is rife in future cities: will water drainage and conservation systems cope with severe flooding predicted by climate change? will the water needs of a growing population be met? will water quality be affordable? This talk looks at a UK city which resides in a water stressed area and has a high rate of population growth.  It presents a variety of global, national and local considerations and ends with recommendations for interventions, which rely on other infrastructure systems such as energy, telecommunications, and also green infrastructure, to move toward sustainability.


Liz Varga is Professor of Complex Infrastructure Systems.  She has expertise in trans-disciplinary research projects across infrastructure systems (energy, transport, water, waste and telecoms) focusing on behaviours and their outcomes in urban systems. Interdependencies between these systems and their sub-systems lead to different scales of decision making which has significant consequences for the ways in which our critical services are consumed.  Improving decision making toward sustainable consumption is essential for society, the environment and also the infrastructure systems themselves. Liz’s skills are in creating abstractions of real-world systems, recognizing emergent phenomena and co-evolutionary effects, and assessing measurable systemic outcomes. Liz uses mixed methods approaches to lead the design of computational agent-based models which represent the dynamics of inter-connected systems. She has experience of system transitions, modeling the effects of policy, technology and innovation under different future scenarios, and analysing computational results representing economic, environmental and societal effects. 

Current research considers: innovation; decision making; policy; futures; business models; sustainability; and interdependency.


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