GLRC Celebrates World Water Day

GLRC Celebrates World Water Day
GLRC Celebrates World Water Day
Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center will mark World Water Day (March 22) with a variety of events March 20-23.

The Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University has several events planned to commemorate World Water Day. While officially celebrated on Wednesday, March 22, there will be events throughout the week of March 20 to focus on the issue of clean water.

The theme of this year’s World Water Day is “Wastewater.” Globally, 80 percent of all wastewater flows back to nature without being treated or reused. Not only does this pollute the environment, but valuable nutrients and potentially recoverable materials are lost. Daisuke Minakata from Civil and Environmental Engineering says “Wastewater is no longer a collection of liquid and solid wastes but our valuable resource so that we can create potable water from wastewater with advanced treatment technologies and recover valuable materials and even energy from waste. In this sense we no longer call it a wastewater treatment plant but water resource recovery facility.”

Reuse of wastewater is the theme of Michigan Tech’s World Water Day Keynote lecture. George Tchobanoglous, professor emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis will present “Planned Potable Reuse: The Last Frontier.” His talk will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 21 in Dow 641.

The nation’s water supplies are derived from a variety of sources, including local and imported surface water, groundwater and other sources. Public water supplies in many regions are becoming stressed because of population growth, urbanization, the growth of megacities, cyclical droughts and climate change.

Tchobanoglous says, “One way to meet the increasing demand of fresh water is to augment public water supplies by means of planned potable reuse of a community’s treated wastewater.” In this talk he will address wastewater reuse by discussing water quality, technological developments, cost, and public perception. There will be a reception following the lecture.

Tchobanoglous will be a member of a panel discussion at 10 a.m. March 22 in the Great Lakes Research Center, room 202. The panel, moderated by Latika Gupta from the School of Business and Economics, will discuss “Water: Health, Energy, Ecosystems and Sustainable Communities.” Joining Tchobanoglous will be Evelyn Ravindran and Stephanie Kuznick of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Neil Hutzler of the Portage Lake Sewage Authority, and Ratish Namboothiry and Joe Azzarello of Kohler Co.

Making water cleaner will be the aim of the Dirty Water Competition from 4 to 5 p.m. on March 22 in the MUB commons on the Tech Campus. Teams of three or four members will attempt to clean up dirty water using only the materials provided — sand, gravel, alum and activated charcoal. Registration is free, but limited to the first 30 teams. Members of the winning team will each receive a $25 Michigan Tech gift certificate.

The latest in the Green Film Series, “Last Call of the Oasis,” will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 23 in Hesterberg Hall of Michigan Tech’s Forestry Building. A discussion will follow the film moderated by Martin Auer of Tech’s department of civil and environmental engineering.

"... we no longer call it a wastewater treatment plant but water resource recovery facility."Daisuke Minakata

Other activities include a student poster session March 21-22 in the lobby of the Dow building with students available for discussions from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, a Water Footprint display in the Memorial Union Commons throughout the week will show the average person’s daily use of water, and the art exhibition “Water’s Edge: Paintings by Danielle Clouse Gast,” is on display on the first and second floors of the Great Lakes Research Center through June 15.

In 1993, the United Nationals General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day. The commemoration is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners. For more information on Michigan Tech’s celebration, visit the Great Lakes Research Center’s website

Michigan Tech’s World Water Day events are sponsored by the following Michigan Tech departments and centers: The Great Lakes Research Center, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, the Ecosystem Science Center, the Sustainable Futures Institute, Visual and Performing Arts, and The Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.

World Water Day will be the topic of the second half of the radio program, Copper Country Today, beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday, March 19, on 97.7 The Wolf, 8 a.m. on 1400AM/99.3FM WCCY and 9 a.m. on K-Bear 102.3. The program is online at

Keweenaw Report did a news story about Tech's World Water Day celebration. See

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.