Monday, March 4, 2019

Register now for early bird rates - OU International Water Conference

To get early bird rates, register for the Conference by July 29!

The theme of this year's International WaTER Conference is "Quest for Water Security: Quantity, Quality and Equity". Invited speakers and 70-80 presentations will tackle the many water challenges that are shared by both developed and developing nations.

Recent flooding in Mozambique and in Nebraska, USA (March 2019), are painful reminders of shared vulnerabilities around water in a changing climate.
The sixth biennial OU International Water Conference will feature a diverse group of keynote speakers. 

Dr. Saroosh Sarooshian is a Distinguished Professor at UC-Irvine whose work encompasses many aspects of hydrometeorology, water resources systems, climate studies and application of remote sensing to earth science problems. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Jenna Davis of is co-founder and faculty lead of the Water, Health & Development program at Stanford University. Her research and teaching is focused at the interface of engineered water supply and sanitation systems and their users, particularly in developing countries. She has conducted field research in more than 20 countries, including most recently Zambia, Bangladesh, and Uganda.

John Butterworth of IDE-Ethiopia will be speaking about self-supply of water and sanitation. He will also co-chair a session that is concerned with broader WASH systems, functionality, and monitoring.

Leila Harris is Professor at the Institute for Resources Environment and Sustainability (IRES) and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (GRSJ) at the University of British Columbia. Her current research focuses on the intersection of environmental issues and inequality / social difference, and water governance challenges in Canadian First Nations, Cape Town, South Africa and Accra, Ghana. 

Kyle Harper is an historian of the classical world and the Senior Vice President and Provost at his alma mater, the University of Oklahoma. Kyle has recently published a book The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire. His keynote address to the Conference will describe the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome’s power. 

Rural self-supply is one of the topics of water security that will be discussed.

Go to Conference page for more information and to register!
Remember - rates go up after July 29.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Final call for Conference abstracts - due on March 31

Reminder - The OU WaTER Center is now soliciting abstracts for posters and oral presentations for the OU International WaTER Conference to be held in Norman, Oklahoma on September 16-17, 2019 (with post-Conference short courses on September 18).

Oral or poster presentations dealing with any technical, anthropological, sociological, cultural, social entrepreneurship or legal aspect of water and sanitation in emerging regions are invited.

Interested participants should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words to the Conference Selection Committee by March 31, 2019 for both domestic and international submissions.

Rural villagers rely on technologies that are creative, simple, and affordable.

The abstract should include a succinct but descriptive title of the proposed presentation, and name, affiliation, and contact information (including email) of the authors. The abstract should identify the topic of the proposed presentation and should include a brief description of the actual project or innovation. The abstract should also discuss the significant results of the efforts and conclusions or recommendations drawn from the study. 

Broad topical areas include the following:
  • water quantity - effects of climate change on water resources, rural water challenges, hydrology and water security
  • water quality - arsenic / fluoride mitigation, microbiological quality, household water treatment
  • water equity and security - legal issues in water security, food, water and energy, global environmental health, capacity building in WaSH
  • and many more!
To submit your abstract, go to the Conference page.
For more conference details, go to WaTER.ou.edu
 
The Water Prize Award Banquet is one of the highlights of every WaTER Conference.

 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Call for Abstracts


The OU WaTER Center is soliciting abstracts for posters and oral presentations for the OU International WaTER Conference to be held in Norman, Oklahoma on September 16-17, 2019 (with post-Conference short courses on September 18).
Self-supply in rural communities will be one of the topics discussed at this year's Conference.

Oral or poster presentations dealing with any technical, anthropological, sociological, cultural, social entrepreneurship or legal aspect of water and sanitation in emerging regions are invited.

Interested participants should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words to the Conference Selection Committee by March 31, 2019 for both domestic and international submissions.
Participants meet and network at the 2017 Conference.
The abstract should include a succinct but descriptive title of the proposed presentation, and name, affiliation, and contact information (including email) of the authors. The abstract should identify the topic of the proposed presentation and should include a brief description of the actual project or innovation. The abstract should also discuss the significant results of the efforts and conclusions or recommendations drawn from the study. 

Broad topical areas include the following:
  • water quantity - effects of climate change on water resources, rural water challenges, hydrology and water security
  • water quality - arsenic / fluoride mitigation, microbiological quality, household water treatment
  • water equity and security - legal issues in water security,  food, water and energy, global environmental health, capacity building in WaSH
  • and many more!

To submit your abstract, go to this link.
For more conference details, go to WaTER.ou.edu
 
Conference attendees enjoy the Banquet at the beautiful Sam Noble Museum of Natural History.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Sally Sutton - specialist in rural water supply





Sally Sutton is a consultant and practitioner in rural water supply, focusing particularly on sustainability of supplies from both technical and socioeconomic perspectives.  In the 1970’s she undertook doctoral research into hydro-geochemistry at Oxford University and four years research on the hydrogeology and socio-economy of traditional groundwater supplies (aflaj) in Oman. She then moved into the real world as a hydrogeologist, spending ten years with consulting engineers on wellfield development, groundwater recharge systems and digital modelling in various parts of the Middle East. 
A Zambian family invests for themselves, an example of self-supply.

Moving on to work in Africa, she worked under the advisement of the Zambian Department of Water Affairs.  While planning, supervising and monitoring rural water supplies (but including hands- on well-drilling) for the Western Province, and evaluating other donor projects around the country , she became interested in the people being left unserved or badly-served by the conventional rural water supplies she was helping to construct. With the Zambian government and with DFID funding, she ran a large three year project to encourage communities and households to develop and progressively up-grade their own supplies. As a result she was asked by RWSN to initiate and coordinate the Self-supply theme (2003-2011) and to introduce the concept to other countries. This has meant moving increasingly towards planning and policy development . However that is combined with a satisfying privilege of being able to see what is really happening on the ground and advocate for change directly, with policy makers in government and non-government organisations in 16 sub-Saharan countries, with support from UNICEF, the World Bank and NGOs. 
A small group in Zambia which improved their own spring catchment.
Her particular interest is the interface between social and technical aspects of water supply, specifically how better to knit the priorities and skills of households into the wider context of rural water supply strategies and policies.
Madame Diabate’s well and rope pump in Senegal, shared with all her neighbors and held together with strips of rubber.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Water and sanitation specialist, Shauna Curry


The WaTER Center is proud to welcome Shauna Curry to serve as one of the WaTER Symposium jurors who will select the 2019 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize recipient. Shauna is a Professional Engineer who joined the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) in 2004 and assumed the role of CEO in 2011. During her tenure, Shauna led the development and expansion of CAWST's service delivery from two countries to its current network of 5000 clients in 194 countries.


Shauna Curry


CAWST clients access services through three platforms (CAWST, WET Centres, and Virtual Services), reaching 14.9 million people with better water or sanitation. CAWST builds upon local knowledge and skills with household solutions that people can implement themselves. A hybrid organization, CAWST is both a licensed professional engineering consultancy and a registered Canadian charity.

Prior to CAWST, Shauna worked in environmental engineering. She traces her interest in humanitarian work to her parents and a solo-odyssey from Alberta to Argentina by bicycle, which solidified her passion and desire to make a real and lasting difference in the world and to do so through water. 

The WaTER Symposium will be held on Wednesday, October 10 from 6:30-9:00 p.m. in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom at the Oklahoma Memorial Union on the Norman campus of the University of Oklahoma.  The Symposium and banquet are free and open to the public.  To register for the event, go to water.ou.edu.




Social entrepreneur and development specialist, Chris Dunston


We are pleased to welcome Chris Dunston to Norman this October to join the stellar group of water and sanitation professionals who will choose the next University of Oklahoma International Water Prize recipient.



Chris is currently the Senior Program Officer, International Programs at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation where he leads the Safe Water Strategy priority. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation aims to accelerate access to safe, reliable and affordable water services for communities, health facilities and schools in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia and Uganda.  The strategies focus on development partners – government, private sector and civil society – to collaborate more effectively with one another to design, test and implement different approaches for systems strengthening and water service delivery to all residents at the district level.  

Chris started his career in development 30 years ago as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer assisting women’s groups in Isiolo, Kenya to start businesses. This eye opening experience led Chris to earn a Master’s in Public Health, going on to work for CARE USA for about ten years. Here he held a variety of positions focused on household livelihood security in Bangladesh, Sudan and Madagascar. 

Prior to joining the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Chris lived in Madagascar for more than a decade as an entrepreneur. During this time, he started businesses that included managing a clinical trial for the treatment and diagnosis of human plague in 40 rural health care facilities with the Ministry of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions through a grant from the National Institute of Health.  Chris established several public-private partnerships with rural municipal governments for water resource management and service delivery, and microscopy services in health care facilities.  He also owned and operated a specialty business that grew, processed, and marketed Madagascan coffee that was exported through a direct farmer-to-market relationship with clients and retail outlets throughout the country.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Melinda Laituri - Ecosystems and Geospatial Technology


The WaTER Center is proud to welcome Dr. Melinda Laituri to serve on the selection committee to choose the 2019 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize winner.  As part of the WaTER Symposium to be held October 10, Melinda will also be part of a panel discussion on "Critical Water and Sanitation Issues in Today's World".
Dr. Melinda Laituri

Dr. Laituri is a professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado State University. She holds a PhD in geography from the University of Arizona, with her other degrees in hydrology (MA, California State University, 1985) and geography (BA, University of California, Berkeley, 1979). 

Melinda’s research has spanned several geographic locales, beginning with her dissertation in the American southwest and along the US-Mexico border that focused on environmental equity and groundwater resources.  Since then, she has worked with indigenous peoples around the world on issues related to managing water and natural resources, using geographic information systems (GIS) while utilizing cultural and eco-physical data in her research models.  A key focus involves using GIS to aid those locally affected in developing the information and strategies necessary for sustainability and self-management.


Social and environmental justice is a key focus in much of Dr. Laituri's research.

Other research interests have focused on the role of the Internet and geospatial technologies as they pertain to disaster management and cross-cultural environmental histories of managing river basins. “Water, ecosystems, and sustainability are inextricably linked across multiple scales.  I am keenly interested in the intersections and boundaries of human activities, physical processes, and ecosystems.” All Melinda’s work relates to solving water issues, social and environmental justice, and tracking the global policy initiatives with respect to this. She enjoys teaching, considering it one of the greatest privileges and challenges of being a professor.  “We are truly seeing the influence of geography in everyday life! This is an exciting place to be at this juncture in addressing and solving complex environmental issues.”
 
A Fulbright Scholar, a Rachel Carson Fellow, and a Jefferson Science Fellow, Melinda is the currently director of the Geospatial Centroid at CSU.  A former National Science Foundation program officer in the Geography and Spatial Sciences program, she now works with the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues at the US Department of State on the Secondary Cities Initiative, and is affiliated with the Colorado Water Institute and the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis.