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Wednesday, 20 October 2021, 15:00 – 17:00 CET (EU)

Ethics is an important yet frequently ignored aspect of water resource planning, policymaking or infrastructure development and management. Water conveys different types of values – emotional, spiritual, cultural or socio-economic – that need to be considered by engineers and policymakers. The value-ladeness of water has been recognised in the formulation of the Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development in preparation for the 1992 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. The paramountcy of safety and societal considerations when planning or devising infrastructure has also been revealed in incidents such as the Flint water crisis or the Love Canal contamination.

In our SEFI seminar dedicated to water and responsible engineering, experts and activists explore the ethical dimension of water for engineering and offer examples of how such considerations can be integrated in engineering education.


Rafael Ziegler (HEC Montréal, Canada) – “Utopia dynamises action – action dynamises utopia. A back-casting approach for group-based learning for water innovation and sustainability”

Yanna Lambrinidou (environmental health & policy scholar-activist; Virginia Tech, USA); “On Helping Engineers to Help Communities: Water Insecurity, Research Justice, and Social Change”

Neelke Doorn (TU Delft, The Netherlands) – “Water Ethics and Responsible Engineering: Against naïve optimization”

Edmond Byrne (University College Cork, Ireland) – “Urban water provision; engineering considerations and ethical framings”

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