Joe Williams

PhD Human Geography

School of Environment, Education and Development

Joe Williams

My research offers critical insights on the ‘water-energy nexus’, an emerging body of literature that seeks to understand the interrelations, tensions and synergies between two sectors that have traditionally been considered as distinct.

Background

My background is in Human Geography, although my interests more broadly encompass urban studies, globalisation, Development, science and technology, and political economy. The research being conducted in Geography, and generally in the School of Environment, Education and Development, makes Manchester one of the best research communities in the world in which to pursue my academic interests.

Research

Large-scale seawater desalination has emerged as a significant alternative water source for metropolitan regions wishing to augment or supplement their freshwater supply. This energy-intense and expensive technology, although offering a drought and climate-proof water source option, represents a technical ‘fix’ that does not address the deeper contradictions of energy and water consumption. My research offers critical insights on the water-energy nexus, an emerging body of literature that seeks to understand the interrelations, tensions and synergies between two sectors that have traditionally been considered as distinct. Theoretically, my work is grounded in a urban political ecology framework, but also draws on insights from STS, ‘new’ materialism, and assemblage theory. This research is based in the San Diego area, where a number of large desalination facilities will start producing freshwater over next 4-5 years. These include the Carlsbad Desalination Project, currently under construction, which will be the largest desalination facility in the Western Hemisphere, and two proposed ‘binational’ facilities at Rosarito Beach, Mexico, which will supply both the USA and Mexico  with freshwater.

Future

Large-scale seawater desalination has emerged as a significant alternative water source for metropolitan regions wishing to augment or supplement their freshwater supply. This energy-intense and expensive technology, although offering a drought and climate-proof water source option, represents a technical ‘fix’ that does not address the deeper contradictions of energy and water consumption. My research offers critical insights on the water-energy nexus, an emerging body of literature that seeks to understand the interrelations, tensions and synergies between two sectors that have traditionally been considered as distinct. Theoretically, my work is grounded in a urban political ecology framework, but also draws on insights from STS, ‘new’ materialism, and assemblage theory. This research is based in the San Diego area, where a number of large desalination facilities will start producing freshwater over next 4-5 years. These include the Carlsbad Desalination Project, currently under construction, which will be the largest desalination facility in the Western Hemisphere, and two proposed ‘binational’ facilities at Rosarito Beach, Mexico, which will supply both the USA and Mexico  with freshwater.

 

Email: joseph.williams-4@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk

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