NEWS May 20, 2024

This Year’s Fulbright Prize Reminds That the Water Crisis Is Not Just an Engineering Problem

It's not just about pipes, Gary White said when he and Matt Damon were awarded the Fulbright Prize for co-founding and Water Equity.

When Gary White won the Fulbright Prize for co-founding and Water Equity with Matt Damon he reminded us that the global water crisis is not just an engineering problem.

The two non-profits say they have improved access to water for more than 60 million people by using market-driven financial solutions. Mr. White’s technical expertise and engineering background may have carried the organizations part of the way toward that astronomical impact, but he discovered early that money is a driving force in water access.

Mr. White is a civil engineer who describes his educational path that started with aerospace engineering. He changed tracks when he realized he wanted to do something about the global water crisis. Over time, however, he realized the complexity of the problem, and the value of a multi-disciplinary education.

“As the story unfolds, you’ll recognize this is much less about physical engineering and pipes, although that’s part of it. It’s really about financial engineering. So, I had to kind of get reschooled in financial engineering,” Mr. White told Melissa Block when he and Matt Damon accepted the prize May 16th. Watch their conversation in the video.

And for the part of the solution that is about engineering, please see our Solutions Library for data on water technologies.

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