Events | WSSS | Tufts University

WSSS Symposium 2011


On April 1, 2011, WSSS hosted its second annual symposium on Tufts' Medford campus.The theme for the 2011 Symposium was Water in 2050: The Infrastructure to Get There. Students, academics, and professionals from the public, private, and non-governmental sectors explored critical and emerging infrastructure challenges facing future water needs.


8:15 - 9:00 am: Registration and Breakfast

9:00 - 9:15 am: Opening Remarks

9:15 - 10:00 am: Keynote Address by Gene Stakhiv

10:00 - 11:00 am: Scaling and Infrastructure: How big is too big?

John Briscoe, Professor of Practice, School of Public Health and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
Paul Kirshen, Research Leader, Battelle Memorial Institute
Susan Murcott, Senior Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Moderator: William Moomaw, Professor and Director, Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

This panel focused on the role of scale in infrastructure development. Panelists discussed the benefits and limitations of large-scale versus smaller, modular-style infrastructure development. In light of the pressing infrastructure needs in developing countries and their emerging economies, it can be argued that large-scale solutions are advantageous due to economies of scale. However, many large-scale infrastructure projects have failed in the past and are increasingly difficult to implement. Panelists were asked: Locally-adapted, smaller-scale, community-level solutions may be an effective alternative, but at what cost?

11:00 - 11:15 am: Break

11:15 - 12:15 pm: Aging Infrastructure in the United States

Stephen Estes-Smargiassi, Director of Planning, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Richard Palmer, Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Marcus Quigley, Principal, Geosyntec Consultants
Chi Ho Sham, Vice President, The Cadmus Group, Inc
Moderator: David Gute, Associate Professor, School of Engineering, Tufts University

A 2009 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers assigned an overall D grade to America's infrastructure. Replacing and repairing aging infrastructure is a daunting challenge for the United States. Panelists were asked: What strategies should be used to address this issue? What approach can be leveraged from recent advancements and research?

12:15 - 1:15 pm: Lunch with poster session and networking reception

1:15 - 2:00 pm: Second Keynote Address by Dan Sheer

2:00 - 2:15 pm: Break

2:15 - 3:30 pm: Meeting the Growing Needs of Developing Countries

John Ambler, Senior Vice President for Programs, Oxfam America
Jeffrey Griffiths, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Tufts University
Calestous Juma, Professoor of Practice, The Kennedy School, Harvard University
Kenneth Strzepek, Visiting Professor, Joint Program on Science and Policy for Global Change, MIT
Moderator: Annette Huber-Lee, Visiting Scholar and Lecturer, School of Engineering, Tufts University

Developing countries have pressing needs for water infrastructure that will only increase with population growth, urbanization, and climate change. Domestic, industrial, and agricultural sectors will all face increasing demand and potentially less supply. Yet access to water has the potential to improve livelihoods for the bottom billion(s). Panelists were asked: How can these needs and opportunities be met without compromising ecological integrity in a resource- and finance-constrained world? What role does infrastructure play?

3:30 - 3:45 pm: Closing Remarks

3:45 - 5:00 pm: Networking Reception


Title Sponsor


Geosyntec Consultants, Inc. is an international environmental consultancy specializing in research and engineering of Green Infrastructure to help evolve urban stormwater infrastructure towards systems that are more distributed, multi-purposed, and cost-effective. Visit for more information.


Supporting Sponsors


AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services, including the design and construction of water and wastewater system infrastructure. Visit for more information.


Stockholm Environment Institute

The Stockholm Environment Institute is an independent international research institute that has been engaged in environment and development issues at local, national, regional and global policy levels for more than 20 years. Visit for more information.



CDM is a consulting, engineering, construction, and operations firm delivering exceptional service to public and private clients worldwide. Visit for more information.


The Cadmus Group, Inc.

Cadmus is a nationally-recognized, multi-disciplinary consulting firm that helps government, non-profit, and corporate clients address critical challenges in the environmental and energy sectors. Their major service areas include Water, Energy Services, Social Marketing and Communications, Green Building, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Strategic Environmental Management, and International Development. Visit for more information.


Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy
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Medford, MA 02155

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The Water: Systems, Science and Society (WSSS) program is a graduate research and education program that provides Tufts students with interdisciplinary perspectives and tools to manage water-related problems around the world.

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