The Pursuit of Liquid Gold: Sustain SoCal Digs Up Need for Water Sustainability

Past Tides
September 6, 2019 By Grace Wood

Any Southern California resident knows that water is as valuable as gold in the region’s arid, desert climate. Sustain SoCal, focused on accelerating clean technology, recently explored this topic and more at its fourth annual “Water Solutions” event held at the Cove @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation.

The Applied Innovation ecosystem partner introduced several experts who elaborated on processes, technologies and policies related to water consumption, delivery, sustainability and waste in the water sector.

“When I look at climate change, what is our tool for that?” said Jeff Kightlinger, general manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. “It’s going to be innovation. We can’t change the physical reality on the ground. … What we can do is we can really adapt. We can use this existing infrastructure. We can learn to optimize it. We can learn to make it better.”

Jeff Kightlinger, general manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, presents on his experience in the water sector. Photo: Rthura Cevallos

Organizations such as Isle Utilities, IBM, Western Growers Association and the San Diego Water Authority further explored sustainable trends in the water sector. In the U.S., water technology has recently focused on solutions to pain-points, such as emerging contaminants and aging infrastructure—particularly through alternative energy sources.

The event also featured an “Innovators Showcase,” where teams and companies pitched their ideas for eco-friendly water technology. Applied Innovation ecosystem partner Gate 5 Energy Partners explained how their technology could serve as an alternative to expensive water purification systems that are powered by fossil fuels. Their scalable thermal system combusts sewage to produce energy.

Wayfinder team GreenTech California also pitched their technology, which uses nanobubbles that draw out nanoparticles—such as salt and metal—to filter water. The process reduces cost as well as the water industry’s reliance on harmful chemicals and electricity.

Sustain Socal hosts several events throughout the year to promote sustainable technologies and research. To learn more, visit their events page.


Visit Applied Innovation’s Flickr page to see more photos from this event.

Main photo: As part of the event, a group features a map of cultural resources for sustainable water solutions.
Photo: Rthura Cevallos

Sustain SoCal: Water Solutions 4

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