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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.

The center will address both the technical and non-technical water and sanitation issues at the 2011 International WaTER Conference, scheduled for Oct. 24 and 25 at the Oklahoma Center for Continuing Education on the OU Norman campus. The two-day conference includes local and international speakers, breakout sessions, and poster and paper sessions in fields of social entrepreneurship, behavioral change, water technologies, climate change, and hydro-philanthropy in the developing world.

The highlight of the conference will be a lecture by and presentation of the OU International Water Prize to Ben Fawcett, a professor and environmental health engineer at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is the co-author of "The Last Taboo: Opening the Door on the Global Sanitation Crisis." Fawcett was selected for the Prize to recognize his three decades of focus on providing access to water and sanitation for the billions of people without these basic necessities.

The conference also will feature water and sanitation experts Ned Breslin, Water for People; Annette Johnson, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology; Dennis Lettenmaier, University of Washington; John Oldfield, Water Advocates; Kurt Soderlund, Safe Water Network; and Peter Winch, Director, Social and Behavioral Interventions Program, Johns Hopkins University.

Contact: Lori Johnson
University of Oklahoma

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