Newsletter: September 26, 2013, Issue #35

The Water Institute at UNC


Global WaSH News

New UNICEF Report on Child Survival

UNICEF recently released its Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed progress report. WaSH is heavily featured throughout the report. One major finding is that diarrhea remains a leading global cause of death among children, accounting for nine percent of all under-five deaths .The report also included several WaSH-related recommendations for increasing child survival rates globally, such as having all children drink water from a safe source and wash their hands with soap.

Conference News

Presentation Schedules for the 2013 Water and Health Conference

The verbal and poster presentation schedules for the 2013 Water and Health Conference: Where Science Meets Policy are now available. In addition, an updated side event schedule along with session descriptions, may be found on the Conference website.

Conference registration is open; be sure to complete your registration before the Conference sells out. And don’t forget to check our website for information about additional events during the Conference week such as networking lunches and the UNC football game October 17.

Extended Abstract Deadline for 2014 Nexus Conference

The abstract submission deadline for poster and verbal presentations at the Nexus 2014: Water, Climate, Food and Energy Conference has been extended to November 1. The Conference will bring together leaders in business, government, NGOs and research to discuss innovative and sustainable solutions that address the intersection of the world’s water, food, climate and energy needs and use. The Conference will take place March 4-7, 2014 in Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Water Institute News

Announcing The Water Institute’s Associate Director for Research

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson has joined The Water Institute as our Associate Director for Research. Dr. MacDonald Gibson’s work focuses on constructing mathematical models that can be used to assess the impacts of alternative policies on environmental quality and public health. She has been an assistant professor at UNC in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering since 2007. Previously, she was the Associate Director of the Water Science and Technology Board at the US National Research Council.

SWA Steering Committee Membership

The Water Institute was recently elected a member of the Steering Committee of Sanitation and Water For All (SWA). SWA is a partnership of governments, donors, civil society and multilateral organizations with the aim of ensuring that all people have access to basic sanitation and safe drinking water.

Post-doctoral Researcher Opportunity: Sanitation-related Activities

The principal areas of work for this post-doctoral researcher position will include the review of evidence related to effective sanitation (from policy to programming) compliance and behaviors to impacts in terms of coverage and use, spanning both household and community facilities. The researcher would also conduct M&E related to sanitation for both traditional infrastructure provision and marketing-focused initiatives.

Post-doctoral Researcher Opportunity: Climate Change, Water Supply and Sanitation

This position is based at Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia) and field sites in Pacific Island Countries. It is a full-time role on a trans-disciplinary research team, which includes The Water Institute, on a project titled Navigating from Impacts to Adaptation: Climate Change and Water Supply and Sanitation on Atolls and Flood-prone Catchments in the Pacific. The researcher will examine climate change implications for water supply and sanitation in vulnerable Pacific Island Countries and use that information to identify adaptation opportunities.

We are also still in recruitment for the following post-doctoral researcher positions:

Recent Publications on WaSH from UNC Researchers

Country clustering applied to the water and sanitation sector: A new tool with potential applications in research and policy. Onda K, Crocker J, Kayser G and Bartram J. (2013). International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. Doi:10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.07.017.

Countries are commonly clustered by geography and income to target resources and describe progress. The authors created a new typology of country clusters specific to the water and sanitation (WatSan) sector. The resulting country typology suggests that previous geography- or income-based country groupings can be improved upon for applications in the WatSan sector by utilizing globally available WatSan-related indicators. This typology could help the sector to better propose policies, track progress, target funds and plan research in ways that account for country similarities and differences across the major outcome drivers in the sector.

Determination of specific types and relative levels of QPCR inhibitors in environmental water samples using excitation–emission matrix spectroscopy and PARAFAC. Gentry-Shields J, Wang A, Cory R and Stewart J. (2013). Water Research. Doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2013.03.049.

This study investigated the relationships between quantitative PCR (qPCR) inhibition and the humic and fulvic content of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in water samples. QPCR inhibition was also compared to water quality parameters, precipitation levels and land use adjacent to the sampling location. Results indicate that qPCR inhibition in the tested water samples was correlated to several humic substance-like DOM components, most notably terrestrially-derived, humic-like DOM and microbially-derived, fulvic-like DOM. This study suggests that certain fractions of humic substances are responsible for PCR inhibition from temperate, freshwater systems.

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

Health and Human Rights Lecture Series: Catarina de Albuquerque
October 25 at 5:30 p.m., FedEx Global Education Center Nelson Mandela Auditorium

Catarina de Albuquerque, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation, will give a talk on “Implementing Human Rights to Eliminate Inequalities in Water and Sanitation.” Her work is concerned with human rights violations as they relate to water and access to water, addressing the stigma that is behind many of these violations, which excludes and disadvantages entire populations.