Water and Health: Where Science Meets Policy

UNC Annual Conference and networking and learning week and launch of the Water Institute at UNC

October 25 and 26, 2010
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Water and Health:  Where Science Meets Policy will bring together experts
from academia, industry, non-governmental organizations, government and
foundations to provide an interdisciplinary perspective spanning science,
policy, practice and economics. The Conference will consider drinking water
supply, sanitation, hygiene and water resources with a strong public health
emphasis. The Conference will deal with critical concerns relevant to both
the developing and developed worlds.

You are invited to attend Water and Health:  Where Science Meets Policy, to
be held at UNC’s Friday Center for Continuing Education. Organized jointly
by the Water Institute and the Institute for the Environment of the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this conference will provide a
unique opportunity for those working at the intersections among water,
health and sustainable development. About 250 attendees are expected, drawn
from an international audience.

The Conference will also mark the public launch of UNC’s new Water
Institute, directed by Jamie Bartram, formerly of the World Health
Organization.

The Conference structure includes plenary sessions, paper presentations and
workshop sessions. Special sessions will deal with major developments in
international water, health and development such as the Millennium
Development Goals.

Main Conference themes include:

  • What works in water and health?
  • Financing for water and development
  • New challenges and climate change
  • Watershed protection and freshwater availability
  • Vulnerability to climate and land use change
  • Innovations and emerging trends
  • Technology and management
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Health systems and WatSan
  • Impact and sustainability
  • Frontiers of regulation
  • Small systems
  • Beaches and coastal areas
  • Household water treatment and hygiene behaviors
  • Water scarcity, reuse

Networking space will be available the weekend prior to the Conference
(October 23 and 24, 2010) for groups wishing to take advantage of the
Conference to meet with new and established members.

For registration information, and information on conference logistics, visit
http://www.ie.unc.edu/content/news_events/symposia/2010/index.cfm .

Presenters may submit an abstract for a proposed paper. Abstracts are due on
May 15, 2010 and should consist of a 300-500 word description of the
presentation, summarizing the objectives, significance, and key findings.
Abstracts should be submitted electronically through the symposium’s
website, http://www.ie.unc.edu/content/news_events/symposia/2010/index.cfm .

Presenters will be notified by 1st July, 2010 if their submission has been
accepted. All presenters will be invited to prepare a written paper which
will be due on October 15, 2010.  All accepted papers and posters will be
published through the Conference Web site; and selected papers passing peer
review channeled to peer review journal publication.

The language of the symposium will be English.

For further details, please email wh2010@unc.edu, or call (919) 843-5738.

Source: Joe LoBuglio, The Water Institue at UNC, via Email

Waste to energy – a report from Bangalore

Going green is not only a mantra but also a practice on the 16-acre campus of ACTS Academy of Higher Education in Bangalore. The success story of using renewable energy for lighting the campus is now paving the way for Australian schools to go green. A theological institute, the ACTS Academy Campus in Rayasandra, situated 15 km from Koramangala, has made use of light emitting diode (LED) lamps, that are powered by a biogas generator installed in the campus.

This generator is primarily fed by kitchen wastes to power these LEDs that are used to light up the college exterior, study spaces and the canteen. Impressed by this model, Don Robertson, technical advisor to ACTS who is also working with Mission Australia, is now planning to replicate it in a school in Oz.

“The institute uses natural energy which helps reduce carbon footprints. The use of biogas, solar and wind together is an important feature of the smart chargers. This has cut power consumption by 80%. We are planning to replicate this project in one school in Australia now, and plan to cover all the schools in the country over the next 12 months. We are currently holding talks with the government in this regard,” Robertson said.

Explaining the contours of the model, RS Hiremath, CEO of Flexitron, an energy saving products manufacturer, who implemented the model in the campus, said that at least 400 kg of kitchen waste from the canteen and nearby hotels are used to generate biogas. The biogas-based electricity generator, with a 7.5KVA installed capacity, generates 15 kilowatt hour (kWh) power.

Earlier, the ACTS institute had installed a biogas generator to use kitchen waste. This gas was primarily used for cooking in the large kitchen.Later a biogas-based electricity generator set was fitted to use some of this gas to generate power. However, the gas was available only in limited quantities and the generator was operated only for a limited duration, which was not useful.

Flexitron then studied the campus and introduced smart chargers to enable the complete use of the power generated. “These smart chargers help charge batteries such that energy can be used for up to three days. The system can ensure a seamless link with solar, wind and grid power. The power consumption in the campus has come down from 10 kilowatt (KW) to 1 KW,” he said. He added that only 500 sq feet area is required for the biogas plant.

“The entire model cost about Rs10 to 12 lakh. The LED lights were designed after a lot of research which helped find the right colour and temperature to mimic sodium vapour lamps for optimal ‘light contrast ratio’, and maximise lumen output. These LEDs have a long operating life, and are among the best available globally today with the best lumen/watt ratio. These custom made LEDs of one to 54 watts are used in a unique electro-luminary combination throughout the campus,” said Hiremath.

He added that the limited time and capacity of the generator output is stored by the smart charger in a sealed lead acid battery to provide lighting for the entire campus through the night, long after the generator is shut down.

Source: DNA – A Bangalore newspaper, forwarded by K. Gnanakan, IEES board

Link to ACTS: http://www.acts.co.in/index.htm

New Book on Wastewater Irrigation and Health

(to be published in Feb. 2010)

In most developing countries wastewater treatment systems are hardly functioning or have a very low coverage, resulting in large scale water pollution and the use of very poor quality water for crop irrigation especially in the vicinity of urban centres. This can create significant risks to public health, particularly where crops are eaten raw.

“Wastewater Irrigation and Health” approaches this serious problem from a practical and realistic perspective, addressing the issues of health risk assessment and reduction in developing country settings. The book therefore complements other books on the topic of wastewater which focus on high-end treatment options and the use of treated wastewater.

This book moves the debate forward by covering also the common reality of untreated wastewater, greywater and excreta use. It presents the state-of-the-art on quantitative risk assessment and low-cost options for health risk reduction, from treatment to on-farm and off-farm measures, in support of the multiple barrier approach of the 2006 guidelines for safe wastewater irrigation published by the World Health Organization.

The 38 authors and co-authors are international key experts in the field of wastewater irrigation representing a mix of agronomists, engineers, social scientists and public health experts from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. The chapters highlight experiences across the developing world with reference to various case studies from sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Mexico and the Middle East.

The book also addresses options for resource recovery and wastewater governance, thus clearly establishes a connection between agriculture, health and sanitation, which is often the missing link in the current discussion on ‘making wastewater an asset’.

Authors: Pay Drechsel, Liqa Raschid-Sahli, Mark Redwood, Akiça Bahri and Christopher A. Scott (editors)

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Earthscan Ltd (28. Februar 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1844077969
ISBN-13: 978-1844077960

EAWAG’s Novaquatis wins transdisciplinary award

The Swiss Novaquatis project, focussing on research and development on the concept of NoMix toilets (urine separating toilets) won the award “td-net for transdisciplinary research” 2008 from the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences – carrying a prize of CHF 75,000.

EAWAG writes: “The award is made (…) in recognition of the project managers’ commitment to transdisciplinarity: as well as integrating environmental, engineering and social scientific research, they sought the cooperation of non-academic partners at an early stage.”

Source: http://www.eawag.ch/media/20081127/index_EN

Schuhmacher College, UK – New Programme out

Schumacher College, in its own words, “offers transformative learning for sustainable living. Courses at the College aim to empower and equip people who wish to make changes to the world situation they see developing around them.” The new programme for the period from Sep. 2008 to April 2009 offers a variety of intriguing courses.

Ecological engineers, for example, may find thrilling new ideas in concepts in the course “Ethical pioneers – an interactive masterclass for the new entrepreneur” (Nov. 24 – Dec. 5, 2008) or in “Systems thinking in practice” (March 9-27, 2009), or in the one year “Masters Degree in Holistic Science”.

The list of current and former teachers and guest teachers reads like a Who’s who of the ecological community: Wendell Berry, Michael Braungart, Jane Goodall, Margrit Kennedy, James Lovelock, Vandana Shiva, and many many others have been teaching and lecturing there.

Have a look at their website and download the new programme from there:
http://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/

BBC report on fish farming in Malawi

BBC reported about a successfull fish farming project in Malawi – one of the poorest countries in Africa.  The project combines Tilapia and Catfish farming in rain-fed ponds with raising chicken and goat crop farming (e.g., maize), thus recycling the nutrients very efficiently. A nice example for ecological engineering! Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7683748.stm