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WaTER Center


The mission of the WaTER Center is to promote peace by advancing health, education, and economic development through sustainable water and sanitation solutions for impoverished regions, using  innovative teaching, research, and service / leadership activities.


The 2017 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 in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom at the Oklahoma Memorial Union on the Norman campus.

Eric Stowe, CEO of SPLASH, was chosen as the fifth prize recipient and was awarded the prestigious University of Oklahoma International Water Prize at the 2017 OU International WaTER Conference Sept. 18-19, 2017. Eric gave the plenary address at the conference banquet, which was held at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.


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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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Welcome to the OU WaTER Center

The Water Technologies for Emerging Regions (WaTER) Center is a grass roots, faculty led effort that began in 2006. The Center was developed to meet a growing need for university-based programs with the personnel and abilities to play a key part in the international water supply and sanitation scene through the development and transfer of appropriate and sustainable water and sanitation solutions.

Every other year, beginning in 2009, the OU WaTER Center hosts the OU International WaTER Conference and Water Prize Award, held in Norman, Oklahoma. And every other year, beginning in 2008, the OU WaTER Center hosts the OU Water Symposia, during which time an assembly of five to seven water experts gather in Norman to select the WaTER Price Award recipient, who then delivers their plenary speech during the following year's Conference.

We invite you to learn more about our Center, including related research, events and ways you can connect with us. 

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2021 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize Winner

Dawn Martin-Hill, Ph.D., recipient of the 2022 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize

Congratulations to Dawn Martin-Hill, Ph.D., Canadian scientist and recipient of the 2022 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize. Dr. Martin-Hill will present a plenary address on Monday evening, Sept. 26, at an in-person banquet. Livestream will also be available. Details to follow.

Recent News

    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