Newsletter: January 30, 2015, Issue #50



Global WaSH News

World Economic Forum’s Global Risks report places water crisis at top of list of threats

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2015 report has for the first time ranked the water crisis as the most impactful global risk in the coming decade, underscoring the harm to human health resulting from the decline in quality and quantity of fresh water. The water crisis is a serious concern, particularly for populations who do not yet have access to sufficient and safe water supplies. Fortunately, intersectoral action at international to local scales is enabling progress in access to water among those who need it most. At The Water Institute, we are working with our partners to build a base of evidence and advocate solutions to maximize benefits to those in need.

Conference News

Nexus 2015: Water, Food, Energy, & Climate Conference

Register now for the Nexus 2015: Water, Food, Energy, & Climate Conference! The Early Bird deadline is Sunday, February 1. Nexus 2015 will explore the science of the nexus; governing the nexus globally, nationally, and locally; corporate stewardship for the nexus; and much more. We will welcome insightful and inspiring speakers, including United Nations Ambassador David Donaghue (tbc); UNC Chancellor Carol Folt; and Monika MacDevette, Chief of the Capacity Development Branch and Deputy Director in the Division of Early Warning and Assessment at UNEP.

Water Microbiology Conference 2015

We are accepting abstracts and side event proposals for our Water Microbiology Conference 2015, which will be held May 18-22 in Chapel Hill, NC, USA. This year’s themes are:
• Sources & Reservoirs
• Exposure
• Methods
• Management & Treatment
Details on the themes can be found on the conference website. Abstracts and proposals must be submitted by February 20, 2015 and should relate to one of this year’s themes. We are delighted to announce that the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is our new partner in bringing you this event. WEF strives to provide bold leadership, champion innovation, connect water professionals, and leverage knowledge to support clean and safe water worldwide.

2015 Water & Health Conference

We are now accepting abstracts and side event proposals for the 2015 Water & Health Conference: Where Science Meets Policy! The deadline for proposal submissions is April 24th and should relate to one of this year’s themes:
• WaSH for the future: SDGs, innovation, resources, integration, and urbanization
• Hygiene and behavior
• WaSH in emergencies and outbreaks
• Learning from practice: MEL, action research, case studies
• Water supply and quality
• Sanitation: protecting households, communities, and environment

Water Institute News

We are pleased to welcome our new services coordinator, Ron Ross. Ron has over 30 years combined experience in finance, foreign affairs, and executive operations and is a certified human resources professional. He is a retired US Navy officer and most recently served as the Commanding Officer of the Navy Recruiting District in Raleigh, NC. He has an undergraduate degree in Human Resource Management from the University of New Mexico and master’s degrees in both finance and foreign affairs. Ron is a key representative of the Water Institute director, serving as a liaison between the director, Water Institute senior management, and other Water Institute staff and affiliates.

Recent Publications on WaSH from UNC Researchers

Does Global Progress on Sanitation Really Lag Behind Water? An Analysis of Global Progress on Community- and Household-Level Access to Safe Water and Sanitation. 2014. Cumming, Oliver, Mark Elliott, Alycia Overbo, and Jamie Bartram. PLoS One 9 (12) (Dec 11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114699

This study calls for a new global standard for improvements in household drinking water and sanitation access in a new study published in Plos One. The study highlights that current benchmarks for access, established by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), treat water and sanitation differently, using community-level and household-level benchmarks, respectively. Based on these separate benchmarks for water and sanitation, estimates of progress show that the water target has been met, while the sanitation target will be missed. When equivalent benchmarks are used, the global deficit is as great for water as it is for sanitation. A single household-level benchmark for both would maximize health and other benefits in the post-2015 development era.

Economic Costs Incurred by Households in the 2011 Greater Bangkok Flood. 2014. Nabangchang, Orapan, Maura Allaire, Prinyarat Leangcharoen, Rawadee Jarungrattanapong, and Dale Whittington. Water Resources Research 51. doi:10.1002/2014WR015982

This study presents the first estimates of costs based on primary data due to the 2011 Greater Bangkok flood. In-person interviews with 469 households in three of the most heavily affected districts were used to estimate economic costs, including preventative costs, ex- post losses, compensation received, and new income generated. Results show that median household economic costs were about half of annual household expenditures and that structural damage was minimal given the depth and duration of the flood. Median economic costs to poor and nonpoor households were similar, and compensation payments from government did little to reduce total economic losses of most households. Findings of the study may contribute to the evaluation of flood control mitigation and preventative measures now under consideration by the government of Thailand.

A Diagnostic Tool for Estimating the Incidence of Subsidies Delivered by Water Utilities in Low- and Medium-Income Countries, with Illustrative Simulations. 2015. Whittington, Dale, Celine Nauges, David Fuente, and Xun Wu. Utilities Policy,

This study provides a diagnostic tool that water utilities may use to estimate subsidy distribution to households in different income quintiles. This comparison allows a utility to evaluate whether subsidies are targeting poor households in certain service areas. Simulations conducted in this study show that subsidies delivered through common tariff structures are not well targeted to poor households. Results also show that the higher the correlation between household income and water use, the lower the proportion of total subsidies that are received by poor households.

To view all Water Institute publications, visit:

Campus WaSH News: Water in Our World

UNC has begun the final semester of Water in Our World, the University’s first campus-wide theme. In addition to our water-related conferences in March, May, and October, here are upcoming water-focused events on campus:

The 2015 NC Water and Wastewater Finance Course is scheduled for February 10-11, 2015, at the UNC School of Government. Hosted by the Environmental Finance Center at UNC, this annual workshop provides utility practitioners with new skills and up-to-date information on infrastructure finance planning strategies and funding resources. The workshop is part of the EFC’s Water Management Leadership Program.

Carolina Performing Arts will present Songs from the Lands of Five Rivers by Sanam Marvi on March 20, 2015, at 8:00 PM in Memorial Hall at UNC. Pakistani Sufi/folk singer Sanam Marvi explores the music of the Punjab – the land of five rivers. Straddling the India-Pakistan border, the Punjab was divided in two by the 1947 Partition of India. The songs of Punjab emerge from the Sufi romances of Heer Ranjha, Sohni Mahiwal and Mirza Sahiban, many episodes of which are set on the banks of Punjab’s rivers. Tickets are available starting at $10.

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