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Saving the World One Drop at a Time

The WaTER Center at OU is bringing together researchers and advocates from around the world to focus on clean water.

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 more children die each year due to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene than AIDS and malaria combined. This is not due to water scarcity, but rather poverty, inequality and government failures that result in poor or dangerous water quality.

The WaTER Center will address both technical and non-technical water and sanitation issues at the 2013 International WaTER Conference, scheduled for Sept. 23 through 25 at the National Center for Employee Development Conference Center and Hotel in Norman, Okla. The two-and-one-half-day conference includes local and international speakers, breakout sessions, and poster and paper sessions in the fields of social entrepreneurship, behavior change, water technologies, climate change and hydro-philanthropy in the developing world. The center anticipates as many as 200 participants from more than 20 countries, with many of these being developing countries.

The highlight of the conference will be a lecture and presentation by the OU International Water Prize-winner Ada Oko-Williams, formerly an associate director at Water and Sanitation for Africa and currently the assistant director at the Sustainable and Thriving Environments for West Africa Regional Development program, a U.S. Forest Services International Programs/USAID program. Oko-Williams was nominated and selected for her advocacy and collaborative community approach for clean water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa.

The conference also will feature water and sanitation experts Richard Taylor, University College London; Tamara Baker, iDE-Cambodia; Feleke Zewge, Addis-Ababa University-Ethiopia; Frank Kansiime, Makerere University, Uganda; and Hans Mosler, EAWAG- Switzerland. A panel discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 24, will discuss “Climate Change and Water: Challenges Across Sectors”; a question-and-answer session will follow.

The conference is open to anyone with an interest in the role clean water plays in global health. To register, go to http://WaTER.ou.edu. The deadline to register online is Sept. 20. To register by phone call (405) 325-2379.

For accommodations on the basis of disability, contact Molly Smith at (405) 325-5913 or mfsmith@ou.edu. Please make all requests for accommodations by Sept. 20.