Newsletter: July 29, 2013, Issue #33

The Water Institute at UNC


Global WaSH News

UN Secretary-General Appoints a New Chair for His Water and Sanitation Advisory Board

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, has appointed His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan as the new Chairman of his Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB). Since its establishment in 2004, UNSGAB has worked to promote advancement in the international community in achieving the water and sanitation targets of the Millennium Development Goals. They also play an important role in ensuring that WaSH receives a high level of prominence in the post-2015 agenda.

Conference News

Scholarship Winners for the 2013 Water and Health Conference

We are pleased to announce the scholarship recipients for the 2013 Water and Health Conference: Where Science Meets Policy. The top prize winner is Patrick Apoya of Water and Sanitation for Africa. He will give a verbal presentation of his work entitled Issues in the Sustainability of Demand Led Sanitation in Africa.

Additional scholarship recipients include:

  • Mahesh Neupane, Government of Nepal
  • Almoayied Assayed, Royal Scientific Society Jordan
  • Probir Ghosh, icddr,b
  • Waltaji Terfa Kutane, WHO Ethiopia
  • Kenan Okurut, Makerere University
  • Enoch Oti Agyekum, Dodowa Health Research Center
  • Samuel Fosu Gyasi, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
  • Ayo Olajuyigbe, Federal University of Technology
  • Tina Khanna, International Center for Research on Women
  • Ravinder Nath Batta

Early Bird Registration Deadline for the 2013 Water and Health Conference

Take advantage of the early bird registration rate for the 2013 Water and Health Conference: Where Science Meets Policy by registering today. The early bird rate of $395 ends on August 9. This year’s Conference will have a wide range of learning and networking opportunities including more than 200 verbal and poster presentations and various side events, as well as the chance to interact with a diverse group of international leaders in WaSH, health and development. The Conference takes place October 14-18 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Water Institute News

Registration Ends Soon for Our Water Safety Plans Distance Learning Course

Register now to participate in our Water Safety Plans distance learning course, which will begin in September. The course is aimed at those in the water industry with management, engineering or operational responsibilities. The 10-week course covers five main content areas: preparation, system assessment, operational monitoring, management and communication, and feedback and improvement.

Report on HWTS Workshop in Malawi

The Water Institute recently provided communications and facilitation support to the Stakeholder's Consultative Workshop on the Development of a National Action Plan on Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage in Malawi. Stakeholders from organizations involved in health and development efforts discussed various strategic areas and offered recommendations for further action by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Water Development and Irrigation, NGOs and the private sector. A detailed report of the workshop is now available.

Water Institute Project Featured at the EPA National Sustainable Design Expo

A team of researchers from The Water Institute participated in the EPA National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, DC. Their project, A Decision-making Support Tool for Water and Sanitation Projects in Low-resource Settings, received an honorable mention. The tool was designed to help managers in developing countries make informed and empowered selections of sustainable WaSH technologies for communities.

Recent Publications on WaSH from UNC Researchers

Impacts of coastal development on the ecology of tidal creek ecosystems of the US southeast including consequences to humans. Sanger D, Blair A, DiDonato G, Washburn T, Jones S, Riekerk G, Wirth E, Stewart J, White D, Vandiver L, Holland AF (2013). Estuaries and Coasts. Accepted.

The primary objective of this work was to define the relationships between coastal development and the ecological condition of tidal creek ecosystems, including related consequences to human populations and coastal communities. The findings suggest that these habitats are valuable early warning sentinels of ensuing ecological impacts and potential public health and flooding risk from sprawling coastal development. The conceptual model created by the authors provides a valuable tool for managers or land use planners to understand the impacts of developments on the environmental quality and potential human consequences in nearby tidal creeks.

An improved infectivity assay combining cell culture with real-time PCR for rapid quantification of human adenoviruses 41 and semi-quantification of human adenovirus in sewage. Rodríguez RA, Polston PM, Wu MJ, Wu J, Sobsey MD (2013). Water Res. doi:pii: S0043-1354(13)00242-X. 10.1016/j.watres.2013.03.022.

This study developed a protocol that can be used to rapidly and semi-quantitatively estimate the levels of infectious human adenoviruses in environmental samples. The protocol represents an improvement in the detection of human enteric adenoviruses by reducing incubation time to five days, compared to the conventional cell culture method that requires incubation periods of 10-20 days.

Campus WaSH News: Water in Our World
Water in Our World is UNC’s first ever campus-wide theme, running from 2012 to 2014

UNC Professor Featured in NPR Story on Pathogenic Viruses and Bacteria

UNC Institute for Marine Sciences faculty member Rachel Noble and environmental medicine researcher Samuel Dorevitch are featured in this NPR Science Friday story, where they discuss what can be done to limit exposure to disease-causing microbes such as norovirus, adenovirus and salmonella for swimmers in ocean water.

New School of Journalism Project: Over Water Under Fire

UNC School of Journalism’s Powering A Nation 2013 Fellows have released their most recent project titled Over Water Under Fire. This documentary focuses on the Colorado River, presenting it as a living timeline of our nation’s innovations and allocations with water. The river’s uncertain future also echoes the state of water resources in the United States at large.

Hurricane Warning System Gets Boost from UNC Computer Center

In collaboration with the UNC Institute for Marine Sciences and Institute for the Environment, the Renaissance Computing Institute’s Surge Guidance System has enabled emergency management directors and other critical service providers to create their own customized analysis of incoming hurricanes, nor’easters and other weather events where significant water damage is a factor. This information is of particular importance as the Atlantic coast is in the midst of hurricane season.