Call for Abstracts for 2013 Water and Health Conference to Open Soon

The call for abstracts for the 2013 Water and Health Conference will open early next month. The conference is scheduled for October 14-18 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

2013 is the UN International Year of Water Cooperation

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2013 as the UN International Year of Water Cooperation. The objective of this International Year is to raise awareness, both on the potential for increased cooperation, and on the challenges facing water management in light of the increase in demand for water access, allocation and services.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Thematic Consultation

The water, sanitation and hygiene consultation is part of the UN-system led "global dialogue," which is mainly taking place as an online discussion using different social media. The purpose is to bring voices from a broad range of stakeholders to build consensus around key future challenges related to water, sanitation and hygiene and the need for a new global water goal in the post-2015 development agenda. To contribute to the discussion, visit

Recent Publications from UNC- Chapel Hill Researchers

Commentary on community-led total sanitation and human rights: Should the right to community-wide health be won at the cost of individual rights? Bartram, J., Charles, K., Evans, B., O'Hanlon, L., & Pedley, S. (2012). Journal of Water and Health, 10(4), doi: 10.2166/wh.2012.205

The slow pace of progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has led to a search for innovative responses, including social motivation approaches. One example of this type of approach is 'Community-led Total Sanitation' (CLTS), which represents a major shift for sanitation projects and programs in recognizing the value of stopping open-defecation across the whole community, even when the individual toilets built are not necessarily wholly hygienic. However, recent publications on CLTS document a number of examples of practices which fail to meet basic ethical criteria and infringe human rights. There is a general theme in the CLTS literature encouraging the use of 'shame' or 'social stigma' as a tool for promoting behaviors. While social mobilization in general, and CLTS in particular, have drastically and positively changed the way we think about sanitation, they neither need nor benefit from an association with any infringements of human rights.

Effects of climatic variability on phytoplankton community structure and bloom development in the eutrophic, microtidal, new river estuary, North Carolina, USA. Hall, N. S., Paerl, H. W., Peierls, B. L., Whipple, A. C., & Rossignol, K. L. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, (0) doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.10.004

The roles of climatically driven freshwater flow, nutrient loading, and temperature on phytoplankton community biomass and composition were examined along a downstream transect within the New River Estuary, North Carolina from 2007 to 2010.

Water Institute News

Documenting Vulnerability of Water and Sanitation Systems

The Water Institute recently received a grant from Wells Fargo & Company, which enables us to develop a state-by-state ranking system to show vulnerability of municipal drinking water and sewage systems to hazards associated with climate change. The ranking will be based upon climate-related hazards such as hurricanes and droughts, the condition of municipal systems and technologies, urban and rural population concentrations, and the adaptive capacity of different states and municipalities.

Partnering with IRC

We have entered into a strategic data-sharing partnership with the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre located in The Hague, The Netherlands. The first activity under the partnership will be cooperation in analyzing data from IRC's WaSHCost project.

Developing a Decision-Making Tool for Water and Sanitation Projects

A team of researchers led by graduate student Ryan Cronk are developing a decision-making support tool for water and sanitation projects in low-resource settings. The tool will help managers in developing countries make informed and empowered selections of sustainable WaSH technologies for communities. The group will present their project, which is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, at the National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall on April 21-23, 2013.

Staff News

Enelda Butler joins us as a Communications Support Associate. She will undertake conference and communication activities including developing the newsletter and website, supporting the Water and Health Conference, and working with campus and external partners on communications activities. Enelda recently completed her Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from UNC-Chapel Hill. She also has a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Alabama.

Chris Cline joins us as a Web and IT Support Associate. Chris will provide web and software-related support activities including running the Water Institute-hosted websites and managing our online conference registration and abstract submission. Chris is completing his Master of Information Science at UNC's School of Information and Library Science. He also holds a B.A. in Ancient and Medieval History from UNC.

Crystal Ki joins us as our new Project Coordinator. Crystal will work closely with research teams to manage outputs and deliverables. She will also liaise with UNC fiscal and administrative offices. Crystal is completing her Bachelors of Science in Public Health in Environmental Health Science in May 2013. She also serves as the co-president for GlobeMed at UNC.

Marissa Streyle, our Networking and Partnerships Manager, and family recently welcomed a baby girl, Francesca. Marissa will be on maternity leave until late February/early March 2013.

Water in Our World News

Water in Our World is UNC's first ever campus-wide theme running from 2012-2014

The 2012 Water in Our World International Photo Competition Winners Announced

The winners if the 2012 Water in Our World International Photo Competition were recently announced. The winning photographs depicted the significance of water, including its various uses, purposes, impacts, issues and forms. There will also be an exhibition of the winning submissions next year on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.