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Will Sarni

The future is water

What I Believe

Indigenous peoples view humanity as inseparable from nature and I embrace this

The Power of
Unreasonable People

I believe that viewing nature and water as outside the human condition results in a devaluing of water. Water has social and spiritual dimensions that are mostly ignored.

I can’t accept that a large part of humanity doesn’t have access to safe drinking water due to scarcity or poor quality. This is a human right that we no longer can ignore.
I believe in a bias for action, not accepting business as usual, and the power of unreasonable people.

Wicked water problems can be solved through innovation in: partnerships, funding and financing, business models, technology, and public policy. Our runway to address these issues is short and the time is now to move beyond outdated thinking and frameworks to address these issues.

“Unreasonable people” will be the ones that solve, or tame, wicked problems such as water, climate, ecosystem decline, and other environmental and social problems.

My focus and initiatives

About Me

I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, New York but have lived in the American West for a very long time.

Despite living in the arid American West, I have always been drawn to water. For me, water is magical and calming. I will never comple-tely understand what connects me to water but it has become central in my professional and personal life, from surfing on Long Island to rowing in Colorado.

New York has exceptional natural beauty in the rivers that surround Manhattan and the beaches of Long Island. I surfed on the south shore of Long Island and spent a lot of time on oceanographic research ships as part of my Master’s research on the sedimentology of Block Island Canyon. I learned to appreciate the beauty of rivers and oceans and ultimately the value of freshwater and access to safe drinking water. The water connection continues today even though I live in the American West through my enthusiasm for rowing (sculling). Being on the water is magical.

My early affinity for water led me to earn my degrees in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Queens College, City University of New York. My early career was all about water supply projects, remediation of contaminated brownfield sites, and as an expert in environmental litigation cases. While satisfying, I didn't realize I was headed for a major pivot in my career which ultimately became my passion. This was a pivot to sustainability with a focus on water strategy, innovation, and investing.

My professional career was about to take a dramatic turn due to the impact of a couple of business trips to Australia. I met someone who was studying climate change and sustainability. I was surprised that this was a subject to study., let alone imagine that these topics would be a business issue and opportunity. However, these trips piqued my interest, and the more I learned about climate change and sustainability, the more I was hooked. Over time, “hooked” deepened into the strongly-held belief that sustainability would be a defining issue of our time. I worked to rebrand and re-engineer an environmental engineering company that I co-founded into a sustainability strategy firm focused on water, climate, and energy.

There was no going back for me despite my experience that building a consulting practice “ahead of its time” was financially challenging, to say the least. However, I persisted and now focus on water strategy, technology innovation, and investing in water technology startup and growth stage companies. It has been quite a journey and I am fortunate that the world caught up with those folks

who recognized the importance of sustainability issues such as climate change, water, biodiversity, and energy. I have landed in a place where my professional career focus on freshwater is combined with my passion(enthusiasm?) for rowing (Cherry Creek Reservoir in Denver, CO). I am grateful to have friends who were also early on this journey and who are all “unreasonable people”.

My podcasts

My writing and

I have authored numerous
books, journals, and articles,


Selected Presentations and Interviews

Why We Need to Be Paying More Attention to Water

September 16, 2023

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10 Lessons Learned: The Power of Unreasonable People,

15 October 2022

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Managing Global Water Risks

March 6, 2014

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Stockholm World Water Week


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Corporate Leadership in Water Reuse and Recycling

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The Digital Journey of Water and Sanitation Utilities in the Caribbean

Dec 2023

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Access To Clean Water Is A Key Concern For Most Americans, Survey Finds

Sep 19, 2023

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June 29, 2023

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Why Water Access Should Be Part of Your Risk Metrics

May 18, 2023

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Why 'creative destruction' could be a positive shift for the water industry

May 12, 2023

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Who solves super wicked water problems?

April 27, 2023

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Water bites back in 2022

December 27, 2022

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What is the real value of water?

1 December 2022

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Will Sarni On Water Risk, Stewardship, And Innovation

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Reflecting on 2022 Stockholm World Water Week: Anything new?

September 21, 2022

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Corporate water strategy: improving watershed health through innovation

August 28, 2022

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Water tech innovation and the future of renewables

August 16, 2022

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Historic Drought Threatens to Cripple European Trade

August 10, 2022

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Will water pricing be the next carbon pricing?

June 29, 2022

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Water Investments Are No Longer Just an Environmental Play

June 24, 2022

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How a shadow price on water could prime innovative technologies

May 23, 2022

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How can the water sector become renewable and circular?

Apr 22, 2022

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Creating an Earth Archive

March 9, 2022

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Does net zero hold water?

March 2, 2022

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Digital Technologies Key to Addressing Global Water Challenges

Jan 31, 2022

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The Year Ahead: 3 Water Trends

January 26, 2022

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The year ahead for water: Extreme decentralization, digital and hydration

January 12, 2022

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How the water sector's digital transformation will help achieve SDG 6

December 24, 2021

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Water Stewardship in the Private Sector

December 21, 2021

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Water as an opportunity for brands to drive strategic value

December 13, 2021

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Indra Nooyi is right about CSR — what it means for corporate water strategy

November 2, 2021

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The Colorado River Basin: What’s wrong and what’s needed to make it right

August 26, 2021

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We need to rethink ESG to ensure access to water and sanitation for all

Aug 20, 2021

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Denver investment fund raising $5M for water tech startups

Mar 31, 2021

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World Water Day: Why Now is the Right Time to Invest in Water Innovation

Mar 22, 2021

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The Texas nexus: What the absence of a US water strategy looks like

March 22, 2021

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Colorado river basin need for watershed scale solutions

22 April 2021

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Water and climate change: the Colorado River Basin case study

10 March 2021

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As we come out of COVID, we need innovation to help us reach the global goals for 2030

Mar 12, 2021

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Transformación Digital: poniendo a la gente por delante de la tecnología

January 25, 2021

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Will Sarni vertical farming joins third green revolution

January 20, 2021

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The year ahead for water: The Roaring '20s and creative destruction

January 7, 2021

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What I learned about water in 2020

December 30, 2020

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For water innovation to fly, we need a Skunk Works

November 18, 2020

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A corporate water strategy manifesto: We can and will do better

September 23, 2020

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The Water Footprint Versus The Water Handprint

September 18, 2020

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The water footprint versus the water handprint

August 19, 2020

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Digital transformation needs a workplace revolution

July 23, 2020

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Corporations need to do more to solve global water problems

June 19, 2020

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The end of the beginning

June 18, 2020

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Awesome Interview with Bob Crosson from Water & Wastes Digest!

Jun 12, 2020

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Bush Brothers counts on water reuse to reduce local impact of bean production

May 20, 2020

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Why I am doubling down on digital for water

April 24, 2020

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World Water Day 2020: The role of innovation in creating abundance

March 20, 2020

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March 20, 2024

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