Public Release: 

Experts address earth's water challenges

OU Gallogly College of Engineering hosts 2015 OU International WaTER Conference and Prize

University of Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. -- Water, and the critical lack thereof, is a growing worldwide problem. According to NASA, more than half of the world's largest aquifers are being depleted faster than can be replaced. In developed countries such as the United States, the long-term concern has focused on sustaining agriculture and energy production. But in developing countries, access to clean water - a daily worry - is often the difference between life and death.

The WaTER (Water Technologies for Emerging Regions) Center at the University of Oklahoma is bringing together researchers and advocates from around the world to focus on access to clean water and sanitation and its challenges. The 2015 OU International WaTER Conference is Sept. 21 - 23 at the NCED Conference Center and Hotel in Norman. The two-day event titled "Synergy at the Interface: Integrating Technology, Social Entrepreneurship and Behavior Change" addresses technical and non-technical water and sanitation issues within the fields of social entrepreneurship, behavior change, water technologies, climate change and hydro-philanthropy in the developing world.

In addition to presentations by local and international speakers, breakout sessions, poster and paper sessions, a panel of experts will discuss the impact and interconnectivity of climate, water, energy and food. Post-conference workshops will also take place.

Peter Lochery, CARE director of water and vice chairman of Millennium Water Alliance, is the 2015 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize winner. Lochery was nominated by his peers for his work in global relief and development programming in water and sanitation resources. He also is recognized for building relationships with the private sector to expand corporate social responsibility. Lochery will give a plenary lecture at the conference and receive his Water Prize.

Other water and sanitation experts presenting include: * Kerstin Danert, Rural Supply Water Network; Switzerland, "Sustainable ground water in Africa." * Pawan Labhasetwar, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute; India, "Water and sanitation in rural India." * Christine Moe, Emory University, "Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in healthcare facilities in low-income countries." * Afreen Siddiqi, MIT and Harvard University, "Water-Energy-Climate Nexus in Pakistan." * Ani Vallabhaneni, Sanergy; Kenya, "Sanitation and social entrepreneurship in Kenya."

The conference is open to anyone who has an interest in the role of clean water plays in global health. To register, go to water.ou.edu. Attend the conference at the Conference Center at NCED located at 2801 East State Highway 9, Norman, OK 73071-1197. For accommodations on the basis of disability, contact Cindy Vitt Murphy at (405) 325-4254 or cvittmurphy@ou.edu. Please make all requests for accommodations by Sept. 14.

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The WaTER Center is part of the OU Gallogly College of Engineering. The center started in 2006 as an organization focused on bringing water and sanitation to remote villages. The center's mission is to help solve drinking water challenges for impoverished regions, both internationally and locally, through innovative teaching and research initiatives. OU's WaTER Center was established to meet a growing need for university-based programs, personnel and resources, including technical innovations and educational opportunities for U.S. students and citizens of the affected regions. For more information on the WaTER Center, visit WaTER.ou.edu.

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