Chris Swartz

Senior Scientist, Financial Director


Somerville, MA
chris.swartz@sei-us.org
skype: chrisswartzlaptop
+1 (617) 627-3786 x6#

Chris is an environmental engineer whose primary research focus has been to elucidate the fate and transport of contaminants in groundwater and surface water systems, to inform domestic and international water resource planning efforts, and to develop exposure assessment methodologies for human health studies. Prior to joining SEI, Chris was at Silent Spring Institute, where he contributed to the Cape Cod Breast Cancer and Environment Study, a multidisciplinary research effort. He also helped develop GIS-based approaches to assess human environmental exposures to pesticide spraying events and to reconstruct historical land use impacts to groundwater supplies for public drinking water. He also developed and managed a research program to investigate the introduction of hormonally active pollutants into groundwater resources via wastewater infiltration from septic systems. While a post-doctoral associate at MIT, Dr. Swartz studied the source, distribution, and mobility of arsenic contaminating Bangladesh aquifers. At SEI, Chris currently contributes to the development of water resource planning and management tools that incorporate a range of environmental and economic considerations. Chris received a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT in 1998.


Recent Publications by Chris Swartz

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Water scarcity and climate change adaptation for Yemen's vulnerable communities

Local Environment 16:5, 473-488

Author(s): Haideraab, M. ; Fencl, A. ; Dougherty, B. ; Swartz, C. ; Alhakimibc, S.A.; Noamanab, A.; Al Kebsic, A.; Noamand, A.
Year: 2011

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: Yemen faces formidable freshwater management challenges, exacerbated by substantial population growth, degrading environmental quality and uncertainty about possible climate change impacts. Here the authors use the Water Resources Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) software to evaluate water needs and scarcity for three case study areas in Yemen representing different ecological conditions (Sana'a, Sadah, and Aden City) under a range of scenarios that include potential climate change and adaptation strategies. The modeled results suggest that current and predicted patterns of water consumption will soon fully deplete available supplies, and are a bigger driver of vulnerability than potential climate change for the region.
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Balancing groundwater conservation and rural livelihoods under water and climate uncertainties: An integrated hydro-economic modeling framework

Global Environmental Change 21:2, 604-619

Author(s): Varela-Ortega, C. ; Swartz, C. ; Blanco-Gutiérrez, I.; Downing, T.E.
Year: 2011

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description:

This study focuses on the analysis of water and agricultural policies aimed at conserving groundwater resources and maintaining rural livelihoods in a basin in Spain's central arid region. It integrates an economic optimization model with SEI's hydrology model WEAP (Water Evaluation And Planning system) to analyze the spatial and temporal effects of different water and agricultural policies under different climate scenarios. Results show that the region's current quota-based water policies may contribute to reduce water consumption in the farms, but will not be able to recover the aquifer and will inflict income losses to the rural communities. This research contributes to the new sustainable development strategy of the EU by showing that, in water-scarce regions, effective integration of water and agricultural policies is essential for achieving water protection objectives. It also provides a valuable illustration of an integrated analytical approach to inform water policy and management decisions within contexts of water-related conflicts worldwide.
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The Mekong: A diverse basin facing the tensions of development

Water International 35:5, 573-593

Author(s): Kirbya, M. ; Kemp-Benedict, E. ; Swartz, C. ; Krittasudthacheewab, C.; Mainuddina, M.; de la Rosa, E.
Year: 2010

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: Population is growing in the relatively unregulated Mekong River basin, and demands for hydropower and food are increasing. The basin has prospered but the poorest have not shared the benefits. Agricultural production is keeping up with rising food demand, but capture fisheries are unlikely to increase production, threatening the supply of animal protein in people's diets. National governments decide water issues unilaterally, with weak transnational institutions and limited public participation. Growing pressures, exacerbated by climate change, will likely increase tensions over access to water, reinforcing perceptions of institutional failure and stimulating demands for improved governance.
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Aqueous And Solid Phase Arsenic Speciation In The Sediments Of A Contaminated Wetland And Riverbed

Applied Geochemistry 24:2, 346-358

Author(s): Blute, N.K. ; Swartz, C. ; Jay, J.A.; Brabander, D.J.; Hemond, H.F.
Year: 2009

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: Mobility of arsenic in the environment is controlled by its association with solid phases through adsorption and co-precipitation. To elucidate the mobilization potential of arsenic deposited in wetland and riverbed sediments of the Wells G & H wetland in Woburn, MA, as the result of decades of industrial activity, arsenic retention mechanisms were inferred from aqueous and solid phase geochemical measurements of sediment cores.
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Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability, and Adaptation

Prepared for the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi

Author(s): Dougherty, B. ; Fencl, A. ; Swartz, C. ; Fisher, J.; Osman, B.; Yates, D.
Year: 2009

Research Area(s): Adaptation & Vulnerability

Description: This preliminary assessment report aims to identify and assess the potential magnitude of the physical impacts due to climate change on three vulnerable sectors in the United Arab Emirates: coastal zones, water resources, and dryland ecosystems. It includes recommendations for sustainable adaptation processes that policymakers could adopt going forward.
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