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The 5th Biennial University of Oklahoma International WaTER Conference and International Water Prize Award Ceremony was held Sept. 18-19, 2017 in Norman, Okla., USA. Full two days of meetings and presentations (Sept. 18-19) was followed by optional workshops on Sept. 20-21. The University of Oklahoma International Water Prize Award Ceremony was held at the conference banquet where the recipient of the prize accepted the award and gave the plenary address at this event.



The University of Oklahoma International Water Prize Winner

The 5th University of Oklahoma International Water Prize recipient was announced at the WaTER Center Symposium held the evening of Sept. 22, 2016 at the Oklahoma Memorial Union on the Norman campus.

Eric Stowe, CEO of SPLASH, was chosen at the 2016 WaTER Symposium to be the fifth Water Prize recipient.

Eric wll be awarded the prestigious University of Oklahoma International Water Prize at the 2017 OU International WaTER Conference, Sept. 18-20, 2017.  He will give the plenary address at the conference banquet.


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View previous issues of WaTER Drops on our News & Events page.

Saving the world one drop at a time

The WaTER (Water Technologies for Emerging Regions) Center at the University of Oklahoma is bringing together researchers and advocates from around the world to focus on the life-sustaining resource, clean water. The center reports that more children die each year due to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene than AIDS and malaria. This is not due to water scarcity, but rather poverty, inequality and government failures.

Water and Sanitation for Health and Sustainable Development Minor

Learn about the New WaTER Minor!

The WaTER Minor is designed for engineering and non-engineering majors who have an interest in development work in emerging regions, particularly the sectors of water, sanitation and health.

Want to learn more?

An introductory course on the significance of water in our world, Water, H2O, and WaTER (PDF), is offered to interested students.



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The WaTER Center

The University of Oklahoma WaTER Center aims to promote peace by advancing health, education and economic development through sustainable water and sanitation solutions for impoverished regions.

This website offers you the opportunity to learn about upcoming WaTER events, local and international WaTER initiatives and how you can contribute to solving the world water crisis.

2017 OU International WaTER Conference

A Decade of Progress - A Vision for the Future

The 2017 OU International WaTER Conference was held in Norman, Oklahoma on September 18-19, with post-conference workshops being held September 20-21.  Click here for more details.




SAVE THE DATE - The 2017 OU International WaTER Conference

University of Oklahoma International Water Prize Globe


The University of Oklahoma 2017 International WaTER Conference


International Water Prize Award Ceremony

September 18-20, 2017



WaTER Minor Appeals to Students Who Want to Make a Difference



The new minor offered by the OU WaTER Center to undergraduates help students broaden their world view through hands-on experience in developing countries.  Read about this life changing program from this front page article in this recent edition of the online Oklahoman.

Click here to learn more about the WaTER Minor.

WaTER Center Director Receives Award

	Dr. David Sabatini


The Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) selected Dr. David Sabatini, director of the WaTER Center, to receive the 2016 Steven K. Dentel AEESP Award for Global Outreach. Read more in this article in the Norman Transcript.

The 2017 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize Recipient

Eric Stowe of Splash

Eric Stowe 2017 OU Intl Water Prize winner

Please join us in applauding Mr. Eric Stowe, chosen at this year's OU WaTER Symposium to be our fifth University of Oklahoma International Water Prize awardee!

Eric will be awarded the prestigious OU International Water Prize at the 2017 WaTER Conference, September 18-20, 2017. There he will give the Water Prize keynote address at the conference banquet.

Congratulations, Eric!

Click here to view a slideshow of Eric by nominating juror Ned Breslin

The 2016 University of Oklahoma WaTER Symposium

and the 2017 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize Announcement

University of Oklahoma International Water Prize Trophy


The WaTER Symposium and dinner!   

Nearly 150 people gathered in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom in the OK Memorial Union, Thursday, September 22, as the WaTER Center hosted the fifth biennial OU WaTER Symposium. The symposium, which this year included a dinner, featured discussions concerning global water issues with a distinguished panel of jurors who deliberated together to select the 2017 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize selectee.  Eric will receive his prize, an original handblown glass globe trophy and $25,000, next fall at the OU International WaTER Conference, Sept. 18-20, 2017.

An interactive question-and-answer session with the panelists also occurred at the Symposium.  Comprising the 2016 WaTER Symposium panel were Mr. Ned Breslin (former CEO of Water For People), Ms. Sarina Prabasi (CEO of WaterAid), Dr. Afreen Siddiqi (MIT/Harvard), Dr. James Smith (University of Virginia) and Dr. Eric Wood (Princeton). 

The highlight of the event was the announcement of Eric Stowe as the recipient of the prestigious OU International Water Prize. Eric will receive his prize, an original handblown glass globe trophy and $25,000, at the 2017 OU Intertanional WaTER Conference, September 18-20, 2017.

It was indeed a most enjoyable and informative evening! To learn more about the prize winner and the WaTER Symposium, read on.



Nudge Handwashing Project Wins First Place


First place in the Civil Society Innovation Award at the WASH Futures Conference in Brisbane, Australia was awarded to a handwashing project designed and implemented by Save the Children, WaTER Center Assistant Director Dr. Robert Dreibelbis at the the University of Oklahoma, and the University at Buffalo, This project makes use of nudges - environmental cues that spark quick, unconscious decision-making, by connecting latrines to handwashing stations via paved pathways painted with bright colors, footprints and handprints, subtly guiding students to a handwashing station. The feasibility for nudge-based interventions was assessed in a pilot in 2014 of nudges in two schools in rural Bangladesh, showing an overall increase of 64% in handwashing among primary school students after a toileting event. The nudge path concept is currently under further study in a cluster-randomized trial to assess the longer term sustainability of the intervention as well as the behavioral impact of nudges compared to a traditional education-focused handwashing and hygiene promotion program, the results of which will be available in the fall of 2016.

Water Security - Quantity, Quality, Equity

WaTER Center Directors with Peter Lochery


The WaTER Center directors joined their thoughts and expertise on water security to produce a feature article for the January 2016 addition of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) journal Water Resources IMPACT. Click here to read their contribution to the journal. (pdf)

Professor's clean water vision offering hope at Tar Creek Superfund Site

Researchers making progress in filtering contaminated groundwater

Dr. Robert Nairn at the Tar Creek Cleanup Site


The water cleanup work of Dr. Robert Nairn, Associate Director of the WaTER Center, is being highlighted by the news media.  Engineers with the University of Oklahoma's School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science have found a solution to clean the contaminated water flowing right into Tar Creek.  To learn more, read on...

Public Forums on Water Reuse to be held in Norman

Water Reuse Photo


Water reuse in Oklahoma is the topic for three upcoming educational outreach forums open to the public at no cost.  The meetings are designed to inform the public and to allow people to provide input for Oklahoma‚Äôs future water resource planning. 

The no cost public forums are scheduled from 6-8:30 p.m. on April 23, May 14 and June 18 at the National Weather Center, 100 David L. Boren Blvd., in Norman, OK.

Please register at for planning purposes.

For more information and to view the entire agenda (pdf), click here.

Conference registration now available - 2015 OU WaTER Conference and International Water Prize Award Ceremony Sept. 21-23

"off the grid: sustainable water and sanitation in a non-networked world"

Water Prize Banquet


Registration for the 2015 OU International WaTER Conference to be held in Norman, Oklahoma Sept. 21-23 is now open.  


Click here for registration information.


The International Water Prize Award Ceremony will be held Monday, Sept. 21 at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.  The Water Prize Banquet is included in Regular, Emerging Region and Student registrations. 

Banquet tickets can also be purchased at the door the night of the event (cash and check only) or by contacting Cindy Murphy.


Professor Nairn Receives $1.6 Million Water Cleanup Grant

Design and construction begins in 2015



With a grant from the State of Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, WaTER Center Associate Director Robert Nairn is able to pursue his water cleanup goals in northeast Oklahoma.  Click here to learn more.

Sooners Without Borders Travel to El Salvador




Thanksgiving break for most students means spending time with family and food.  But a group of OU students used their holiday break for service.  They headed more than 2,100 miles away to Central America.  Read on...

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe - Her Humanitarian Quest



Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, friend of the WaTER Center and one of Time Magazines most influential people of 2014, is travelling the globe speaking for those who cannot.  Please read on to learn more about this amazing woman.

2015 OU Water Prize winner chosen at WaTER Symposium



Peter Lochery was announced as the University of Oklahoma's 2015 WaTER Prize recipient at the WaTER Center Symposium Friday, Sept. 26, 2014.

This prize recognizes and honors an individual who has made significant international contributions, either through research, teaching or service activities in the field of water supply and sanitation, with a focus on the world's poorest living in developing countries.  Read more...

Did you know

  • Approximately one SIXTH of the world's population lacks access to safe water
  • 2.6 billion people lack access to improved sanitation
  • On average a child dies every 15 seconds because of lack of safe water and adequate sanitation
  • 88 percent of all diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene
  • The average American individual uses 100 to 176 gallons of water at home each day while the average African family uses about 5 gallons per day

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