Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ms. Ada Oko-Williams Wins Water Prize!

We are proud to announce that Ms. Ada Oko-Williams was named the 2013 OU International Water Prize winner on Friday, September 21, on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus at the OU WaTER Symposium. Six respected jurors from the water and sanitation field - Rita Colwell, Marc Parlange, Christine Moe, Idrissa Doucoure, Dennis Warner, and Ravi Jayakaran - selected Ada as the top winer among six worthy candidates. 

Ada Oko-Williams is a true WaSH practitioner
with 14 years of hands-on experience in developing countries.
Ms. Oko-Williams is currently the associate director of Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA) and has more than a decade of experience in the development sector on that continent. Her significant contributions to WSA include bringing about positive change in the lives of many communities in her native country of Nigeria and the West African region.
Ada is responsible for training hundreds of practitioners in the
CLTS (community-led total sanitation) approach to sanitation improvement in West Africa. 
Oko-Williams has been described as a resourceful and dynamic professional with considerable success managing programs designed to improve standards of water, sanitation and hygiene in developing countries, particularly in the West African Region. She is currently engaged in facilitating sanitation strategies, development and programs delivery in seven countries in West Africa.  She is highly experienced in program design and delivery with a special focus on innovation, designing to context and out-of-the-box techniques.
As the recipient of the 2013 OU International Water Prize, Ms. Oko-Williams will deliver the plenary lecture at the 3rd Biennial OU International Water Conference, scheduled for September 23-25, 2013, in Norman, Oklahoma, USA.

Hong Publishes Book and Hosts Workshop in Kenya

CEES faculty and WaTER Center Director Dr. Yang Hong has published a new book titled "Multiscale Hydrologic Remote Sensing: Perspectives and Applications". The book integrates advances in hydrologic science and innovative remote sensing technologies. Raising the visibility of interdisciplinary research on water resources, it offers a suite of tools and platforms for investigating spatially and temporally continuous hydrological variables and processes. Organized into five parts, the book explores hydrologic remote sensing at the local, urban, watershed, and regional scales, as well as the continental and global scale.

The book is a useful reference for students, professionals, scientists, and policy makers involved in the study of global change, hydrologic science, meteorology, climatology, biology, ecology, and the agricultural and forest sciences. It shows how hydrologic remote sensing technologies can be used more effectively to explore global change impacts and improve the design of hydrologic observatories. The book is published by CRC Press and is available from all major retail book outlets. 

Dr. Yang Hong's research has a particular interest in bridging the gap among the
water-weather-climate-human systems across scales in space and time.

Dr. Xianwu Xue, OU Postdoctoral Fellow, is greeted by
Kenyan scientists at the modeling workshop

The National Weather Center's Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing Laboratory (HyDROS), jointly with the NASA-SERVIR Mission, hosted a week-long CREST Hydrological Modeling Workshop in Kenya this year. Dr. Xianwu Xue, a CEES Postdoctoral Fellow working under Dr. Hong, was among representatives from 13 African and Asian countries' Ministries of Hydrometeorology or Disaster Management Agencies in attendance. The goal of the training is to provide technical expertise to participants on CREST- Grid based Distributed Hydrological Model for quantifying stream flow, soil moisture and evapotranspiration by use of NASA satellite rainfall datasets. This is the first workshop of many to transfer NASA and OU jointly developed technology to developing countries.

New Ethiopian Graduate Student

Welcome to Teshome L. Yami, a new graduate student from Ethiopia, who has come to complete his PhD in water treatment in developing countries. His research will center on excess fluoride removal technologies using locally-available materials. Current treatment processes, such as Nalgonda, bone char adsorption, electro-defluoridation, will be compared on the basis of social acceptability and affordability.

Teshome is pictured here with his two daughters, Naty and Melat.
The girls are excited to be enrolled in U.S. schools.
Teshome's undergraduate studies were at the Arba Minch Water Technology Institute in Ethiopia where he earned a B.Sc. He then served the Ethiopian government for 10 years in planning and construction of water supply, irrigation and other rural infrastructure. Then he earned his Master's degree in Hyrdraulics Engineering in corporation with UNESCO - IHE (the Institute for Infrastructure, Hydraulics and Environment) in Delft, Netherlands. 

Teshome show Dr. Lowell Busenitz, OU Business professor, one of the
fluoride treatment tanks set up in a rural village in Ethiopia. 

He then went to work for CARE International in Ethiopia as the Country Coordinator for water and sanitation programs. His valuable experience included coordinating the Milleniam Water Alliance's (MWA) water and sanitation consortium in Ethiopia.

Now Teshome is a full-fledged Sooner!!! His time is currently divided between his family, his research, and "going back to studies" in aquatic chemistry and environmental biology/ecology. His wife's name is Selamawit, and he has three children - daughters Natanim (16 yrs old) and Melat (10 yrs old) and son Daniel (2 1/2 yrs old). The girls are adjusting to life in U.S. public schools, and they especially like music, reading (like their father) and swimming.  Teshome is a member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church which has an active congregation in nearby Oklahoma City.

Teshome is pictured here on the OU campus with a few of his "bosses" -
Laura Brunson (PhD candidate), Dr. Jim Chamberlain and Dr. David Sabatini

Teshome wishes to express his gratitude to the University, the WaTER Center, and to the Hoving Foundation which is supporting his study in the States. 

Staff Engineer Goes to Drill Camp

Jim Chamberlain, WaTER Staff Research Engineer, attended the 3-day Living Water International drill camp, September 24-26, in Danbury, Texas, south of Houston. Jim and 20 other participants, including some from Tanzania, Guatemala, and Australia, learned the fundamentals of well drilling with the LS100 mud rotary drill rig. Under the expert guidance of their "drill instructor", campers learned how to mobilize and demobilize the rig, how to drill to depths of up to 100 feet, troubleshooting tips and advice, and the essentials of well completion and development. Installation of the hand-operated Bush pump and base assembly followed on the last day.

Chamberlain digs out the mud pit for the circulation of drilling mud.

Jim's team included members from Zimbabwe, Florida and Texas.
The LS100 is the right tool for certain jobs - specifically, drilling a 6-inch borehole at depths of up to 100 feet in soft to medium formations. It will not drill through boulders or loose gravel formations (due to borehole cave-in), and is best utilized in places where people are already using hand-dug wells. Jim quips, with a wink, "Now I can tell people that I have drilled water wells in two emerging regions - Oklahoma and Texas!". But he also looks forward to the day when he can assist or lead a cooperative team of students, volunteers and local villagers in drilling and installing a new well in an area of great need. The LS100 mud rotary rig is a prominent module in the Field Methods course that Jim teaches at the beginning of each summer at the University of Oklahoma.
The finished, installed pump delivers clean water with the stroke of the handle.
Living Water International is a Christian, faith-based NGO that has drilled over 10,000 wells since its founding in 1990.  Their very successful business model is to train, consult, and equip local people in-country to implement sustainable solutions. Their training includes pump repair as well as drill training on three sizes of mud rotary rigs. More information is found here.