2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


CAMPANA, Michael E., College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, 104 CEOAS Administration Building, Corvallis, OR 97331-5503, aquadoc@oregonstate.edu

Many of us believe that we in the developed world have a moral responsibility to assist our sisters and brothers in the developing world (DW) in their struggle to survive, prosper, and address their own water- and sanitation-related problems. There has recently been unprecedented interest, especially among students, in DW work. This interest takes a variety of forms: 1) performing research in-country, in collaboration with locals, to help build in-country research capacity and educate/enlighten students; 2) conducting hydrohumanity work, including disaster relief; 3) developing formal programs with institutions in the DW to facilitate research, and student and faculty exchanges; 4) doing professional work; and 5) developing appropriate technologies. My emphasis will be on item (2).

Many North American technical groups are invested in DW hydrohumanity. The best-known are Engineers Without Borders, Engineers for a Sustainable World, Water For People, Hydrogeologists Without Borders, and more recently, professional/trade societies such as the National Ground Water Association (NGWA). The SAIWI (Student Association for International Water Issues) group at the University of Nevada-Reno has been active since 2000; the University of Oklahoma has its WaTER (Water Technologies for Emerging Regions) Center. Some private firms encourage their employees to participate in DW hydrohumanity endeavors. Indeed, the US Congress is involved; witness the Water for the Poor Act.

NGWA is proactive with respect to DW hydrohumanity. In 2005, it created the Developing Countries Interest Group (DCIG), which provides a forum for NGWA members who wish to work in the DW. The DCIG has sponsored topical sessions at the main NGWA annual meeting (2006 Ground Water EXPO) and three Ground Water Summits (2005, 2006, and 2007). Interest in the DCIG has been so keen that NGWA has created a searchable volunteer database expressly for those who wish to offer their expertise to DW water and sanitation projects. The database will be open to anyone, not just NGWA members.

My presentation will: 1) summarize the activities of selected groups; and 2) propose an action plan to effect greater coordination and organization so that all the various DW hydrohumanity efforts will be focused, effective, and sustainable, with a minimum of duplication.