“A Thirst for Power: The Global Nexus of Energy and Water”

Michael Webber

Michael Webber
Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Tuesday, August 6, 2013
5:45 p.m. – Networking Reception
6:30 p.m. – Presentation

Energy and water are precious global resources, and they are interconnected. The energy sector uses a lot of water — the thermoelectric power sector alone is the largest user of water in the United States, withdrawing 200 billion gallons daily for power plant cooling. Conversely, the water sector is responsible for about 12 percent of national energy consumption for moving, pumping, treating and heating water. This interdependence means that droughts can cause energy shortages, and power outages can bring the water system to a halt.

For this talk, Dr. Webber will build from his extensive body of research, his course lectures, and his congressional testimony to share his perspective on the global nexus of energy and water to outline trends while identifying technical and policy options that could mitigate the challenges.


Max Shpak is a research scientist at the NeuroTexas Institute at St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, and also a research fellow at the Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology at UT Austin. He earned a BA in mathematics from Cornell University (1997) and a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University (2004). He has taught courses in computational biology at The University of Texas at El Paso and at UT Austin. Shpak’s research interests span a wide range of areas in population and evolutionary biology, having done original work in such disparate topics as phylogeny reconstruction, the genetics of speciation, demographic stochasticity, game theory, and the genetics of structured populations. His publications have appeared in journals such as Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Evolution, Genetics, Theoretical Population Biology, The Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, Journal of Molecular Evolution, and Genomics. Most recently, he has been applying methods from comparative and population genomics to further our understanding of cancer biology, particularly glioblastoma and other brain cancers.