2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 30
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM

Small-Scale and Sustainable Water Development Projects as a Cost-Effective Means to Introduce Students to International Water Issues

FARNSWORTH, Harmony Ann, Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno, 1776 North Virginia St, Mail Stop 175, Reno, NV 89557, hfarnswo@unr.nevada.edu

To help remediate the world's growing water issues, smaller-scale grassroots efforts may be more effective than larger associations such as non-governmental organizations (NGO's). The Student Association for International Water Issues (SAIWI) is a unique organization to the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), and has been promoting sustainable water projects in developing countries since 2000. Students from the Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences at UNR, collaborate with other organizations (such as Peace Corps, Life Water, and International Development Missions) within the developing countries to improve water issues that are attainable within a small scope and demonstrate a strong need within the developing community. It is advantageous to maintain these in-country contacts to ensure success through providing these communities a sense of ownership over the water development projects. Over the past eight years SAIWI members have fundraised to finance fourteen trips to Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Panama, Bolivia, Guatemala, Uganda, and the Navajo Nation. Some of SAIWI's projects include but are not limited to; drilling water wells, constructing above ground self-composting latrines, sampling water sources for contaminants, and teaching about water borne illnesses and related hygiene. Since all work performed is on a volunteer basis with no overhead costs, this allows all money raised to be used for supplies and transportation. SAIWI gives students in the hydrological and related sciences the opportunity to use their skills to help others, while at the same time learn about sustainable water issues in developing countries. This club's success shows that providing safe and sustainable water to a developing community can be accomplished affordably and in a relatively short period of time. It is importance to have recurring water development projects in the same communities in order to be more efficient and ensure continuing success and education.