The UNC Water & Health Conference

Week of October 23-27, 2023  •  Friday Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
languages offered
(Numbers based on our 2021 conference.)

Where WaSH professionals of the world come together.

The annual UNC Water and Health Conference reflects Water Institute's commitment to improving public health by achieving universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) services that are safe, affordable and sustainable. The conference provides a curated space where policymakers, practitioners and researchers can gather to review the evidence, interrogate the science and improve old and develop new approaches to expanding WaSH access and services. 

The 2022 Conference returned to an in-person format in Chapel Hill, North Carolina after two years of virtual conferences.

Can't attend in person?
View our virtual option
“This was my first time attending a conference like this. Information was provided from different perspectives and backgrounds, which was extremely insightful.”
— 2021 conference participant
“The level of engagement and quality of questions from the other participants was honestly one of the most impressive of any conference.”
— 2021 conference participant
“Very relevant session topics. This conference is a frontier of new events, research and models for sustainable and safe water.”
— 2021 conference participant
“The best part is catching up with old friends who've been around the block: They help me see old problems with fresh eyes & new problems informed by the hard-earned lessons of the past!”
“Fun and informative #UNCWaterandHealth session with great audience engagement and challenging questions!!”
Subscribe to our conference email list.
Give to the Water Institute Conference


Water Institute has partnered with the following hotels in the Chapel Hill area to offer discounted rooms for Water and Health Conference attendees. Each hotel link below includes discount codes that will be applied for conference week reservations.

Discounted hotel rooms will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are interested in making use of these special offers, please use the links provided above.  In addition to the reduced prices for hotel rooms, we are working to offer shuttle services from these hotels to the conference venue.

Featured presentations of 2021: “Every last drop!”
day 1 plenary
Getting our sh*t together

How do we “safely manage” human excreta? What do safe disposal and management systems look like and can we ensure that they are resilient and sustainable? How do we measure success?

Developing and implementing sanitation policy

This event is being organized to share experiences on how enabling policy environments can contribute to sanitation transformation and increased political support for universal access to basic sanitation.

Evolution of Rural Water Supply

Rural water supply is increasingly managed through new models, some similar to those of utilities, and in some cases with private sector involvement.  However, there is still a role for communities in these new arrangements, holding water authorities to account.

day 3 plenary
Is there a future for WaSH?

The global WASH sector is faced with quickly shifting research priorities, a complex policy environment, and new challenges that require adaptable and resilient approaches to service provision. This discussion grapples with some of the most challenging issues facing WASH today, where there are no easy answers.

day 4 LUNCH
Assessing empowerment, equality, and inclusion in WaSH

This discussion looks at five novel approaches to exploring gender equity, diversity, and social inclusion in WASH programs.

Featured conference photos

An assortment of photos taken from our last in-person conference in 2019. See all photos. 

Conference updates

Sep 24, 2022

One month left until 1st day of conference!

Sep 24, 2022

Virtual conference program registration opened

Jun 8, 2022

Registration opened

May 2, 2022

Abstract portal closed

Apr 26, 2022

Drop-in Abstract Workshop 2

Apr 12, 2022

Drop-in Abstract Workshop 1

Feb 2, 2022

Abstract portal opened


When will final decisions for presenters be announced?

Final decisions for verbal, poster, side-event, and technology showcase presentations have been made, and presenters have been notified of their acceptance status. The full conference agenda will be publicly available at a later date.

When will the full Conference Program be published?

The conference agenda is still being finalized. The full program will be available online once all final decisions have been made. Make sure to check your email and this webpage for updates on the conference program.

Is there a different registration rate for presenters at the in-person conference?

No, there is not a separate rate for those who have been selected to present at the conference.

Are accommodations included in registration?

No, accommodations are not included in the cost of registration. We encourage you to check out our partnered hotels. The discounted conference rates have unfortunately expired. However, these hotels still have room availability so book your stay now while you still can! Shuttle services to and from the Conference venue will be available for participants staying at these locations:

Address: 1001 S. Hamilton Rd. Chapel Hill, NC 27517.

Hampton Inn & Suites Chapel Hill
Address: 6121 Farrington Rd. Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Holiday Inn Express Chapel Hill
Address: 6119 Farrington Rd. Chapel Hill, NC 27517

The Courtyard by Marriott at Chapel Hill
Address: 110 Marriott Way Chapel Hill, NC 27517

*Shuttle services will not be offered for The Courtyard by Marriott. However, this hotel is within short walking distance of the Conference venue.  

What if I need a visa letter?

If you need a visa letter, please note that you must first register for the conference.

Before filling out the form below, be prepared to upload a copy of your passport bio-page (the page with your photo and personal information) and a copy of your registration confirmation. Look for this confirmation message in your email inbox after registering.  

After you register and have these documents ready, you can fill out the following form. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

Visa Application Letter Request

How can I become a sponsor or donate to the 2022 UNC Water and Health Conference?

If you are interested in giving to the 2022 UNC Water and Health Conference, please reference the following form for information on sponsorship benefits and how to donate. We greatly appreciate any donation you can give, and all contributions will go directly towards this year’s conference.

Become a Sponsor

When does registration close?

Online registration will remain open until the first day of the conference, October 24th. However, you will have the chance to still register in-person at the conference venue throughout the week of the conference.

Can I bring my children to the Conference?

The conference is not designed for children or minors under the age of 18 to attend.

Parents and guardians should plan to make prior arrangements for childcare before attending the conference.  There is a private daycare center close to the Conference venue (please note this daycare center is not endorsed/affiliated with the Water Institute).  As the Friday Center is a publicly owned building, privately hired caretakers cannot be allowed at the venue for liability reasons.

There are no designated areas at the Conference Center for minors to be left unattended or under the care of other individuals. If parents have infants who are still nursing, there are designated areas for breastfeeding.

What COVID-19 safety measures will be required at the conference venue?

The Water Institute will abide by the current US and North Carolina recommendations for COVID-19.

All participants of the in-person Conference will be encouraged to wear masks while inside. Vaccines for COVID-19 will be required in order to enter the United States if you are not currently a United States citizen.

What are the Shoutout and Welcome videos? How do I submit one?

Welcome and Shoutout videos are your way of welcoming conference goers or highlight a colleague you think deserves recognition. The deadline for submitting both types of videos has now passed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a video!

Can the Water Institute help me schedule an appointment with my embassy for a Visa Application?

We are able to provide a letter of invitation to support your attendance via the visa application request form. However, we are not able to assist with scheduling appointments and interviews with your embassy or consulate.

Where can I download session advertising templates?

Here is a Powerpoint Template you can use.

Let's create a water secure future together.