Newsletter: September 24, 2014, Issue #47



Global WaSH News

Launch of Handbook on Human Rights to Water and Sanitation

This handbook, by Catarina de Albuquerque, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, explains the meaning and legal obligations that arise from these rights, translating the often complex technical and legal language into accessible information. The handbook offers guidance on implementing the human rights to water and sanitation, shares examples of good practices of how these rights are being implemented, and provides its users with checklists, so they can assess how far they are complying with these rights.

Conference News

2014 Water and Health Conference Keynote Speaker and Schedule

The keynote speaker for the 2014 Water and Health Conference will be Jennifer Sara, director for the World Bank Group’s Water Global Practice. In this role, she works ensure an integrated approach across all water-related projects, customizing the Bank’s global water strategy to the country dialogue, and providing policy advice and operational support in response to specific client needs.

The schedules for verbal and poster presentations are also now available for the Conference, which takes place October 13-17 in Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Additional Water and Health Conference Sponsors

We are grateful to the organizations that are sponsoring the 2014 Water and Health Conference. Their commitment helps to ensure that the Conference is informative, stimulating and widely accessible. New sponsors include:

  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • Aquagenx
  • Solar Solutions
  • NSF International
  • GRM Futures Group

Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Call for Side Event Proposals: 2015 Nexus Conference

Proposals for side events, such as meetings, workshops, networking sessions, training courses or open forums, are now open for submission for the Nexus 2015 Conference. Side events are an opportunity for individuals or groups to bring together a range of stakeholders to focus on a specific area of interest. Proposals should relate to conference themes, which are:

  • Sustainable and Resilient Development at a Local Level
  • Transboundary, National and Local Nexus Governance
  • Corporate Stewardship of the Nexus
  • Financing in a Nexus World
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Water Stress, Vulnerability, and Health
  • Managing Resources: Optimizing Co-Demands

2015 Water Microbiology Conference

The 2015 Water Microbiology Conference will take place May 18-22 in Chapel Hill, NC, USA. The call for abstracts for the conference will open in November 2014.

Water Institute News

Online Monitoring and Evaluation Course

The fourth module for The Water Institute’s online Monitoring and Evaluation course will open on September 30. The topic of this module will be Approaches to Sampling. This self-paced online program consists of 10 core modules, including basic design issues, conducting surveys and continuous quality improvement. For more information, visit or contact

Registration Open for Water Safety Plans Distance Learning Course

Registration is now open for the next session of our Water Safety Plans distance learning course, which will begin September 29. 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.

Recruiting Climate Change Researcher

The Water Institute is currently in recruitment for a program coordinator to conduct and supervise fieldwork, data analysis and interpretation and preparation of reports and other project outputs related to the focus area: Adaptation to Climate Change and Water Scarcity. Requirements include knowledge of accepted practices and standards for analyzing the interrelationships between climate, WaSH and water resources; demonstrated skills in managing projects with multiple partners; and at least seven years of post-doctoral experience in studying climate change and its impacts.

Future Technologies for Water Finalists

The Future Technologies for Water Competition aims to identify breakthrough technologies for safe water with a sustainable business plan. The finalists for the competition are:

  • Scott Ensign and Ryan Neve –Sensor platforms that merge water quality measurement with the flow of water
  • Elizabeth Nowak and Guy Katz—Harvesting drinking water from atmospheric air
  • Pallavi Roy, Arun Raj, Christina Mallin and Amir Tehrani –Online monitoring of mining wastewater

They will present their innovations at the 2014 Water and Health Conference on Monday, October 13, and the winner will be announced at the conference dinner on Wednesday, October 15.

Recent Publications on WaSH from UNC Researchers

Sustainability Check: Five-year Annual Sustainability Audits of the Water Supply and Open Defecation Free Status in the ‘One Million Initiative,’ Mozambique. (2014). Godfrey S, van der Velden M, Muianga A, Xavier A, Downs K, Morgan C and Bartram J. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development 4(3): 471-483.

Poor sustainability of rural water and sanitation, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, has increased the need for post-construction monitoring and support. To address this issue, the Sustainability Check (SC) was developed as part of the One Million Initiative in Mozambique as an annual audit tool to monitor rural water and sanitation from 2008-2012 to facilitate learning and program changes. This paper describes the SC’s methods, evolution and annual results and notes a trend towards increased sustainability of both ODF communities and rural water supplies during the course of the five-year period. The study concluded that an 80% sustainability score provides the greatest statistical probability of achieving greater than 90% of functioning water supplies, and when the sustainability score is less than 80%, the probability of the water supply functioning drastically reduces to 50%.

Global Monitoring of Water Supply and Sanitation: History, Methods and Future Challenges. (2014). Bartram J, Brocklehurst C, Fisher M, Luyendijk R, Hossain R, Wardlaw T and Gordon B. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 11(8): 8137-8165.

The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) tracks international drinking water and sanitation coverage by analyzing data from household surveys and national censuses. These methods provide nationally-representative and internationally-comparable insights into the drinking water and sanitation facilities used by populations worldwide, but also have substantial limitations. This article critically reviews JMP methods in detail for the first time. Findings include limitations of the current JMP method and future monitoring needs, including addressing water quality, equity, and the use of multiple drinking water and sanitation facilities within and outside of the home. The authors also explore the impact of, and future directions for, international monitoring of drinking water and sanitation.

To view all Water Institute publications, visit:

Campus WaSH News: Water in Our World

Water in Our World is UNC’s first ever campus-wide theme, running from 2012 to 2015

What’s the Big Idea? Lecture Series
Future Vision: Survival Tactics for Our Changing Environment
October 9—30, Friday Center

In this four-part, weekly lecture series UNC researchers will present on the following topics: climate change adaptation and insurance; sustainable cities of the future; improving management of water; and forests, green infrastructure, and the sustainable city.

If you are interested in donating to The Water Institute, please visit our “make a gift” page.