General Overview:
This annual forum aims to provide a platform for key U.S. opinion leaders and technological experts to actively discuss issues regarding the sustainable development of urban communities. We have been discussed the topics like, “Climate Change: Meeting Energy Needs, Reducing Environmental Impact” in 2009, “Sustainable Urban Communities: Water, Power and Transportation” in 2010 and “Building Sustainable Cities” in 2011. This year, the theme will be on “Water”.

Date: September 27th (Thu), 13:00 - 17:40 (reception to follow)

Venue: AAAS Auditorium (1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005)


13:00 - Opening Remarks
13:15 - Keynote Speech
14:00 - Panel 1
15:15 - Break
15:30 - Overview Address
16:00 - Panel 2
17:30 - Closing
17:40 - Reception

Master of Ceremonies:

Edward Derrick
Chief Program Director, Center of Science, Policy, and Society Programs
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Opening Remarks:

Alan I. Leshner
Chief Executive Officer, AAAS and Executive Publisher, Science

Strobe Talbott
The Brookings Institution

Takashi Hatchoji
Chairman of the Board
Hitachi America, Ltd.

Keynote Presentation:
John Tubbs
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Water and Science

Panel 1: Improving Water Use in Shale Gas Production

Driven by advances in exploration and production technology, the U.S oil and natural gas sectors have undergone a revolution in recent years as vast amounts of previously uneconomic “unconventional” resources in shale formations across the country have been developed. The continued development of unconventional resources depends on the safe and sustainable continuation of the practice of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), at present a highly water-intensive process. In addition to the large volumes of water required, fracking produces waste water that must either be treated and recycled or disposed of responsibly. With many fracking operations being conducted in areas of the country suffering from acute water shortages, there is increasing attention on the ways in which fracking can be conducted with greater water efficiency. This panel will address the range of issues related to water usage in the fracking process. It will examine lower-water alternatives to current fracking methods as well as new technical options for water treatment, disposal, and recycling being developed and tested in both the private and public sectors. It will examine the state and federal regulatory requirements for water use in fracking and seek to determine whether and how these should be updated to ensure the sustainability of the process.


  1. Bruce Baizel, Interim Director of the Oil and Gas Accountability Project, Earthworks
  2. Julio Friedmann, Chief Energy Technologist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  3. James Richenderfer, Director of Technical Programs, Susquehanna River Basin Commission
  4. James Slutz, President, Global Energy Strategies

Moderator: Charles Ebinger, Senior Fellow and Director, Foreign Policy, Energy Security Initiative, The Brookings Institution

Panel 2: Confronting Water Issues in Cities and Urban Areas
More than half the world’s population today lives in cities and metro areas, with urbanization rates rapidly increasing. Behind increasing urbanization is an array of problems that city planners and policymakers must confront. One such challenge is the provision of fresh water to meet the most basic human needs. In the U.S. the challenge is two-fold: rebuilding an aging and outdated water infrastructure network, and constructing new infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing population. Dealing with these issues spans the private, public, and political realms and the fields of finance, environmental sustainability, technological innovation, and economic growth. The purpose of this panel is to confront the growing challenges of clean water in urban areas. It will focus on the U.S. and feature experts and practitioners that will describe real world examples and success stories of how water challenges are being met.


  1. Matthew Diserio, Co-Founder & and President, Water Asset Management LLC
  2. Richard Meeusen, Co-Chair, Milwaukee Water Council / Chairman, President, and CEO, Badger Meter, Inc.
  3. Dave Norris, Mayor West Monroe, LA
  4. Shinjiro Ueda, Representative Director, Hitachi Plant Technologies

Moderator: Katherine Bliss, Director, Project on Global Water Policy, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Access the 2011 forum report (PDF)

Access the 2011 Webcast Archive