2018 J-WAFS IAP Panel

Three Water Management Strategies to Address Future Climate Scenarios


On January 31st, an interdisciplinary panel of five MIT graduate students and postdocs presented new research that proposes opportunities for improved water management through applying landscape architecture, corporate risk management, and largescale infrastructure planning. Presenting to a packed house, an array of strategies were detailed by the panel: constructed wetlands specially designed for maximized stormwater filtration and ecosystem support; a database in development that uses water impact information from multinational companies to spur more accurate water risk assessments; and a decision tool for water planners to use when evaluating how, when, and at what scale to build water infrastructure in the face of climate uncertainty.

The presentations began with Tyler Swingle (M.Arch candidate), who was part of the J-WAFS-funded research team that developed guidelines for constructed wetlands that can be used in urban settings to reduce stormwater runoff and maximize biodiversity using precisely designed island geometries. Julian Koelbel (postdoc, Sloan School of Management) and Cristina Logg (MCP candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning) presented a strategy developed collaboratively with Cindy Noe (MBA/MPA, MIT Sloan and Harvard Kennedy School of Government): a global, comparable geodatabase of public water management indicators through surveys they are conducting with multinational companies. Their goal is to use this data assess the water quantity and quality, state of the infrastructure, and crisis response capacity of water authorities across the globe to spur more accurate water risk assessments and more effective strategies for risk management for corporations and municipalities. Last, J-WAFS graduate fellow and PhD candidate in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society Sarah Fletcher presented her dissertation work that uses climate modeling to develop a decision tool for water planners to use when making water infrastructure development decisions. The decision tool provides options that classifies the multiple uncertainties and climate futures to assess possibilities for flexible infrastructure design that can mitigate risk

The panel was moderated by Janelle Heslop (SM/MBA candidate, CEE and Sloan School of Management); 40 people attended. More information about the panelists is below.


Sarah Fletcher

Sarah Fletcher, PhD candidate, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, and 2017-2018 Rasikbhai L. Meswani Fellow for Water Solutions

Sarah Fletcher is a PhD candidate at MIT in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society and a 2017-2018 Rasikbhai L. Meswani Fellow for Water Solutions at J-WAFS. Her research focuses on water supply planning under uncertainty. She previously worked as a researcher and consultant on issues at the intersection of water, energy, and environment. Sarah has an S.M. in Technology and Policy from MIT and a BA in Physics and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Cristina Logg

Cristina Logg, MCP candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Cristina Logg is a 2nd year Master in City Planning candidate in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning where she is pursuing both the Environmental Planning Certificate and Sustainability Certificate from DUSP and the Sloan Sustainability Initiative. She previously worked at the U.S. Department of State on highly visible and sensitive Freedom of Information Act cases. Cristina has a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University and an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University.

Julian KoelbelJulian Koelbel, Postdoc, Sloan School of Management

Julian Koelbel is a postdoctoral fellow at the Sloan School, affiliated with the sustainability initiative. He does research on the intersection of sustainability and risk, specifically focusing on water risks. Julian holds a PhD from ETH Zurich and and an MSc from the University of Oxford.



Tyler Swingle

Tyler Swingle, M.Arch candidate in the Department of Architecture

Tyler Swingleis a Master’s of Architecture candidate at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning. His work concerns the ways architecture can be used as a frame through which people can engage non-human actor-networks, and is currently focused on the fracking industry’s influence on the landscape in the Midwestern United States.



Panel moderator:

Janelle Heslop

Janelle Heslop, dual degree SM/MBA candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Sloan School of Management

Janelle Heslop is a Leaders for Global Operations Fellow at MIT, pursuing an SM in Civil and Environmental Engineering and an MBA. Before MIT, Janelle was a Senior Associate at Veolia, a leading global water services company, where she managed a large-scale transformation program for NYC’s water utility. Janelle has a BS in Earth and Environmental Engineering from Columbia University.


For more information contact Andi Sutton, J-WAFS Communications and Program Manager at arsutton [at] mit.edu.