Thursday, March 24, 2011

OOSKAnews / World Water Day Edition of International Water and Development Weekly

Our friends at OOSKAnews have produced a dynamite World Water 2011 Edition of their International Water & Development Weekly newsletter and kindly made it available at no charge here. It's a powerful, informative newsletter - please read.

This issue features a good write-up of the World Water Day events in Washington DC including a strong policy speech from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on water between the US Government and the World Bank.

We are grateful to OOSKAnews for their coverage of these events and for making this edition of their newsletter available for free.

CARE is hiring / WASH Senior Sector Specialist

From our friends at CARE - great job opening for the right WASHy person!

WASH Senior Sector Specialist

Location: TBC
Close date: 10/4/11

Previous applicants will be considered and need not apply.

The Senior Sector Specialist position provides overall leadership for CARE International (CI) in the Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, within the framework of CI's overall humanitarian policies and integrated emergency strategies. The position is responsible for developing sectoral policies, strategies, best practices and guidelines for CARE's global work in the sector by:

•Supporting the development of CARE's human resources capacity in the sector
•Representing CARE International at the global level in the external emergency sector community
•Developing strategic partnerships and identifying funding opportunities to support CARE's work in the sector
•Ensuring that CARE offices receive effective technical assistance in the sector during emergency preparedness and response
•Guiding, learning and evaluating CARE's work in the sector and contributing as appropriate to CARE International's overall humanitarian policies and strategies.

View the Position Description

To apply complete and submit the online application form and send your CV and response to the selection criteria (found in the Position Description) to jobs ((at)) 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Making the Unavoidable Unacceptable

Submitted by John Oldfield, Managing Director of the WASH Advocacy Initiative, a nonprofit advocacy effort in Washington DC entirely dedicated to helping solve the global safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenge. Its mission is to increase awareness of the global WASH challenge and solutions, and to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources devoted to solving the problem around the developing world.
On World Water Day, March 22, safe drinking water and sanitation experts gather across the globe both to celebrate successes and to develop more effective, sustainable ways of meeting this vital development need. One element of those conversations is that the lack of safe drinking water and sanitation in developing countries poses a number of multidisciplinary challenges:
  • This is primarily a global public health challenge, but requires primarily public works solutions.
  • Water and sanitation are important in their own right, but both are also vital to sustainable progress for other important development challenges including health, nutrition, education (especially for girls), poverty alleviation, and human security.
  • Solutions require innovation, but most importantly they require appropriately and sustainably scaling the answers known since Roman times, or at least since the introduction of chlorine into New Jersey’s municipal water supply in 1903.
As challenging as it is, however, we can undeniably achieve universal access to water and sanitation with today’s technology, funding, and political leadership.
That last statement resonates most loudly for the 884 million people who lack safe drinking water today, and for the 2.6 billion people who lack improved sanitation facilities. The approximately two million deaths due annually to unsafe water and sanitation, and the waterborne diseases causing those deaths, can for the most part be prevented. And preventing them is not simply smart development policy for the United States; it is a life and death situation for millions of people, and a significant leadership opportunity for this Administration and country.

The village of Al-Mamaleek is part of the EMPOWERS (EURO-MED Participatory Water Rescources Scenarios) project which is co-funded by CARE. Al-Mamaleek is situated alongside Bahr Youssef, a branch of the Nile. Children play at one of the villages water pumps. Photo Credit: CARE
On World Water Day let us recognize that this challenge is not simply solvable. It is being solved by communities all over the world, and the government of the United States and its philanthropies, corporations, and citizens are helping in often very effective and sustainable ways. Health specialists, engineers, and economic development experts work together to not just drill more wells and build more latrines, but to strengthen capacity of indigenous groups and communities in developing countries to provide these services themselves.
So as USAID and its partners in the United States and abroad continue to implement fully the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005[PDF], some suggestions follow on how to accelerate that progress and make sure the work sustains itself over the long run:
2011 is the year of quality, effectiveness, and sustainability in the water and sanitation sector. Implementing agencies of the U.S. Government and outside entities (nonprofits, philanthropists, civic groups like Rotary International, corporate philanthropies, and private citizens) should always ask themselves the tough questions during the early stages of each program:
  • Is the activity they are implementing or supporting likely to endure technically? Are local businesspersons trained and incentivized to manage a supply chain?
  • Is the financial model in place to ensure that the funds will be available locally to repair, upgrade, or expand the system?
  • Is the ribbon-cutting ceremony not just the self-congratulatory end of the program, but simply the next step toward a sustainable water and sanitation intervention that endures 15-20 years?
  • Is there an ongoing monitoring and evaluation program whose successes and failures are frequently updated and knowable to all stakeholders?
In today’s tight fiscal times we need the answer to these questions to be “Yes” more frequently than in the past. This will get the biggest possible bang for our dollar, be it a development assistance or a philanthropic dollar.
So on World Water Day let us take a closer look at sustainably tackling the lack of safe drinking water and sanitation. This is an unassailably grave yet solvable development challenge, and a multi-trackdiplomacy opportunity with almost unlimited upside. The United States government and citizens have an opportunity to prevent more waterborne illness and mortality and should redouble efforts to do so in a sustainable, scalable fashion. Let us work together to turn water-related death and disease from an unavoidable fact of life to completely unacceptable.
World Water Day events in the Washington DC area:
The United Nations World Water Day website:
UNICEF / WHO Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation:

UNC Chapel Hill / Water / Sanitation / Where Science Meets Policy Conference

Those of you who were at UNC's conference last October know that you don't want to miss the 2011 show either. Fantastic learning opportunity. Here is a hint at what this year's event includes:
Networking/Workshop Events 2011 Water and Health: Where Science Meets Policy Conference

Workshops and meetings are already being organized for the 2011 Water and Health Conference, to be held October 3-7 at UNC Chapel Hill. Our first workshops to announce are:

• "The United Nations, Global Health Policy, and Evolving Frameworks for Accountability under the Human Right to Water" co-convened by The Parr Center for Ethics at UNC

• Annual Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS) Network Meeting convened by WHO, UNICEF & The Water Institute

• "The new age of rapid methods for water quality applications: blending scientific advancement with routine monitoring needs" convened by the Institute of Marine Sciences at UNC

Don't miss this opportunity to network with and learn from the unique array of national and international experts to build and sustain a capable and proficient knowledge base in a new topic, and to expand upon existing knowledge and skills.

Water / Sanitation Bloggers: bloggers call March 24, 930am EST

Attention all water/sanitation bloggers: just got this from USAID:

Dear Friends of the Global Health and Water Community:

This week USAID commemorates World Water Day and World TB Day. We invite you to join us for a bloggers call this Thursday, at 9:30AM EST to speak with Christian Holmes, Global Water Coordinator and John Borrazzo, Chief of the Maternal and Child Health Division at USAID about USAID’s programs in these two key areas of health. If you can make it please e-mail me back at to RSVP.

Call information is as follows for tomorrow’s call:

Participant Dial-In Number(s):
• US/Canada Dial-in #: (800) 994-6668
• Int’l/Local Dial-In #: (706) 634-4940
Conference ID: 54500521

Here is some information on both days, hope you can make it!

World Water Day

Water covers almost three-quarters of the earth’s surface – yet nearly 1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe water. In just 20 years, the world’s demand for freshwater will outstrip supply by 40 percent.

Those without safe water and sanitation are likely to be poor, hungry, and malnourished. Each day, thousands of people, mostly children under 5, die from preventable diarrheal diseases. The increasing scarcity of safe water, combined with rapid worldwide population growth and environmental degradation, is also contributing to biodiversity loss and food insecurity. Women and girls are disproportionately impacted by the lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Women and girls often spend hours a day collecting water, foregoing other economic and educational opportunities, and girls often drop out of school because of the lack of adequate sanitation.

Learn more about USAID's water programs. Read more on USAID's World Water Day page.

World TB Day

Tuberculosis has always been the signature disease of the urban poor. In a world that is urbanizing at a rate of 200,000 (people) every day, we must fight TB now before it becomes an unparalleled global killer. The frightening growth of drug-resistant strains of TB—some of which cannot be treated—make the case for combating the disease even more compelling.

Today, the world commemorates World Tuberculosis (TB) Day by celebrating the tremendous progress that has been made in combatting this disease. Milestones include a 35 percent decline in mortality since 1990, a 14 percent decrease in the prevalence of TB between 1990 and 2009, and the emergence of new diagnostic technologies that can detect multi-drug resistant TB. Learn more about USAID’s TB programs.

Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2011 Introduced

For Immediate Release

Press Contact Information:

John Oldfield
joldfield (at)

Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2011 Introduced to Enable Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation for 100 Million of World’s Poorest

WASH Advocacy Initiative Applauds Introduction of Bill as One of the Most Effective Steps to Improving Global Health and Alleviating Poverty Worldwide

WASHINGTON DC, (March 18, 2011) — Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday by Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) would put the United States in the lead of responding to the worldwide safe drinking water and sanitation crisis. The Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2011 would commit the United States to extending safe, affordable and sustainable supplies of drinking water and sanitation to 100 million people within six years. This major bipartisan initiative would put the United States at the forefront of addressing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for drinking water and sanitation.

The WASH Advocacy Initiative commends Senators Durbin and Corker for their leadership on this important issue, and thanks the five other senators who have signed onto the bill as original cosponsors: Harry Reid (D-NV), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

“We applaud the leadership of Senator Durbin, Senator Corker, and their colleagues in working to provide 100 million people in developing countries with sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation,” said Gary White, Chairman of the WASH Advocacy Initiative. “This is one of the most effective – and one of the most efficient – actions the United States can take to improve health and alleviate poverty worldwide.” Each dollar invested in safe drinking water and sanitation provides an eight dollar (8:1) return on that investment in reduced healthcare costs and time savings.

Patti Simon, wife of the late Senator Paul Simon, said “We shouldn’t forget that the global water and sanitation challenge is solvable – we know the solutions today. This new legislation will help make those solutions a reality. Paul would be proud to see this bill being introduced to address an issue that was a priority for him in Congress, and pleased that leaders like Senator Durbin and Senator Corker are taking the challenge seriously.”

“Access to safe drinking water is a right that everyone in the world ought to enjoy but too few are able to realize,” Assistant Senate Majority Leader Durbin said. “Water access is no longer simply a global health and development issue; it is a mortal and long-term threat that is increasingly becoming a national security issue. The United States needs to do much more to ensure that global water access is protected and expanded.”

“As a fiscal conservative, I realize the urgent need to dramatically reduce federal spending and be more efficient with our resources – especially as it relates to our limited foreign aid budget. That means better focusing, targeting and coordinating our efforts to achieve results without authorizing more funding, which is exactly what the Water for the World Act does,” Senator Corker said. “A lack of clean water leads to the deaths of 1.8 million people a year – 90 percent of them children. It stifles economic growth, keeps women and girls from going to work and school, and contributes to political unrest that threatens our national security. For many reasons, I believe water is one of the wisest places we can focus our foreign aid.”

Almost one billion people currently lack access to safe water, and 2.6 billion people lack a way to dispose of their human waste safely. More than two dozen resulting diseases – including cholera – trigger the world’s most serious, and most solvable, public health problems. These diseases kill more children than AIDS, malaria and TB combined. Development experts point out that safe water and sanitation contribute markedly both to global health initiatives and to efforts to keep children in school, alleviate poverty, and empower women. Women and children, as the primary water-haulers across the developing world, bear the brunt of this crisis.

The bill would also strengthen the capacity of USAID – with its newly appointed Global Water Coordinator Christian Holmes – and the U.S. Department of State to ramp up U.S. developmental and diplomatic leadership, while further catalyzing initiatives by American citizens to provide safe, affordable and sustainable drinking water and basic sanitation. The bill builds on the landmark Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, which at long last made safe drinking water and sanitation a priority of U.S. foreign development assistance. The bill is nearly identical to a bill that passed the Senate by unanimous consent last year.

About the WASH Advocacy Initiative:

The WASH Advocacy Initiative (WAI) is a nonprofit advocacy effort in Washington DC entirely dedicated to helping solve the global safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenge. Our mission is to increase awareness of the global WASH challenge and solutions, and to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources devoted to solving the problem around the developing world. WAI is supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Wallace Genetic Foundation, and four organizations who have detailed staff persons to WAI:, CARE, Water For People, and Global Water Challenge.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Secretary Clinton to Sign Memorandum of Understanding with the World Bank on World Water Day

Exciting things happening in Washington DC on World Water Day, with Secretary Clinton, the World Bank's Bob Zoellick, Steve Hilton of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and the Coca-Cola Company. 

Please join us if you can. Note live-stream details below too.

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 18, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the World Bank on World Water Day at World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, March 22 at 2 p.m. The MOU will strengthen support to developing countries seeking a water secure future. Secretary Clinton and World Bank President Robert Zoellick will deliver brief remarks.
Before the MOU signing ceremony, non-government organizations (NGO) will highlight new commitments by NGOs and the private sector to address water and sanitation challenges in developing countries. Speakers will include NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero, Hilton Foundation CEO Steven Hilton, and a representative from The Coca-Cola Company. HRH Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange, will join via live video conference from World Water Day events in South Africa. Senior government officials, NGOs, and private sector representatives will be available for pull-aside interviews after the signing.
A live video conference with UN-HABITAT will occur from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Formal remarks by Secretary Clinton and President Zoellick, followed by a signing ceremony, will occur at 2 p.m. The entire event will be live-streamed at:
Preset time for broadcast media and still photographers: 11:00 a.m. at the 700 block of 18th Street, NW entrance (the Visitor’s Entrance is on 18th Street, just below H Street)
Final access time for journalists: 1:00 p.m. at the 700 block of 18th Street, NW entrance
Registration is required to attend this event. Please RSVP by 2 p.m. on Monday, March 21.
Journalists should RSVP with Alexis O’Brien ( Broadcast media and still photographersshould RSVP with Mehreen Sheikh ( For further information, please contact the World Bank’s press office at: (202) 473-7660
Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver's license, passport). Press should allow adequate time to process through security.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

World Water Day 2011 Media Advisory - Secretary Clinton featured, plus Social Media Campaign


**World Water Day 2011**

"Together, We Are Solving the Global Water and Sanitation Crisis"

Featuring U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at March 22 Event in Washington, DC

World Water Day Coalition
Washington, DC Events and National Social Media Campaign:
One Week for Water

Friday, March 18 – Friday, March 25, 2011

Press Contact:
WASH Advocacy Initiative
Steff Hedenkamp, 816-506-4630
John Oldfield, 202-293-4049


What:  One Week for Water National Digital and Social Media Awareness Campaign

When: March 18 – March 25

Who:  Nearly 25 nonprofits, part of the World Water Day Coalition working to solve the Global Water Crisis, have come together to activate a digital and social media awareness campaign in celebration of World Water Day 2011.

Why:  The online/viral campaign asks people to "donate their voice" on either Twitter or Facebook to the cause for one week. Starting Friday, March 18, and for one week, one item will be posted each weekday on a donor’s account. The groundbreaking national digital and social media campaign goal is to attract more than 1 million listeners.



What: Making Progress Learning Forum

Media invited to interview forum experts, but not to attend this invite-only event.

Who:  Water and sanitation experts from The Nicholas Institute at Duke University, Safe Water Network, Water For People, The Water Institute at UNC, and World Bank Group

Why:  As new approaches to address global safe drinking water and sanitation become more refined and successful, water and sanitation experts will discuss:

• Private Sector Participation in Water Supply
• Achieving Operational Sustainability
• Revisiting the Silent Tsunami
• Climate Change Adaptation and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
• Accountability and Transparency


What:  World Water Day Cross-Sectoral Working Groups

Media invited to interview participants, but not to attend this invite-only event.

Who:  Leading international organizations including: Academy for Educational Development, Bread for the World, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Conservation International, Millennium Water Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, PATH, WaterAid, and the World Wildlife Fund

Why:  Leaders of the global community are pooling their resources to focus their attention on water and sanitation and the urgent need for action. Working groups will include:

• Integrating Advocacy to Improve Access to Nutrition, Safe Water and Health
• Breaking the Silos: Aligning the Water, Sanitation, and Education Agendas
• Water, Sanitation and Hygiene & Healthy Ecosystems: Advancing Freshwater Management Through Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs

What:  Water for the World: U.S. and World Bank Commitments to Global Water and Sanitation

**Featuring U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton**

Media are invited to this high-level leadership event and to interview select panelists.

Where:  World Bank Atrium

Enter on H Street between 18th Street and 19th Street NW, Washington, DC

When: 12:30PM – 2:30PM (plan to arrive by 12 noon for security)

Who:  Featuring U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and high-level leadership from the World Bank, and commitments from the philanthropic and corporate sectors to help solve global water and sanitation challenges. The event will feature the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Government and the World Bank.

More information will be made available shortly. Please RSVP at your earliest convenience with your name and affiliation/organization to Paz Ovidi, movidi (at) Please indicate “RSVP World Water Day” in the subject line.


What:  Congressional Briefing during World Water Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

Media are invited to this luncheon briefing event and to interview select panelists.

Where:  Cannon Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building, 283 1st Street SE, Washington, DC

When:  11:30AM – 12:30PM (plan to arrive by 11:00AM for security)

Who:  Participants from around the world are joining together for Advocacy Day to show their support for water, sanitation, and hygiene issues and urge continued support from Members of Congress. Coordinating international organizations include: Millennium Water Alliance, Procter & Gamble, PSI, and WaterAid.

Importance of World Water Day 2011:

The U.N. designates March 22 as the day of the year to spotlight the global safe water and sanitation issue and the collective efforts underway to get solutions to those in need. This year, a coalition of diverse U.S.-based groups is calling for increased commitments by the U.S. government and private citizens to reduce poverty, disease and hunger by helping to improve sustainable access for the one out of every eight people who lack safe drinking water and the two out of every five people who lack adequate sanitation.

During One Week for Water in Washington, DC, World Water Day 2011 Coalition members will mark the significant progress that has been made globally towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for water. The world is on track to meet the MDG targets for water, and in sub-Saharan Africa, access to drinking water has improved 22 percent since 1990. However, many of the most vulnerable countries remain underserved. Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, is home to 40 percent of those without safe water, with at least 15 countries in the region not on track to meet the MDG target.

World Water Day 2011 events will highlight how investing in water, sanitation and hygiene makes economic, social, and financial sense, and how prioritizing water and sanitation in developing countries creates ripple effects that make this investment one of the smartest and most cost-effective in tight economic times: every $1 invested in water and sanitation improvements returns on average $8 in increased economic productivity and averted healthcare costs.

About the Coalition for World Water Day

A diverse coalition of water, sanitation, hygiene and health organizations has come together for World Water Day 2011. Its goal is to raise awareness and call for stronger commitments and more robust action to ensure universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The global safe drinking water crisis can be solved with solutions available today. The 2011 coalition includes Catholic Relief Services, CARE, charity: water, Church World Service, Drop in the Bucket, Food for the Hungry, Global Water Challenge, International Relief & Development, Lifewater, Living Water International, Millennium Water Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, PATH, Procter & Gamble, PSI, Save the Children, Tetra Tech, WASH Advocacy Initiative, WaterAid, Water For People,, World Vision, and Water and Sanitation Program.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grants for Water and Sanitation / Development Grants Program / USAID

Very very interesting grant opportunity:

USAID has announced its latest Development Grants Program (DGP) grants opportunity for water, sanitation, and other important developments objectives. This program is designed for nonprofits (US, international, local) who have limited experience working with USAID to this point. Please consider applying for water and sanitation funding.

Go to and search for DGP, or click here:;jsessionid=XVfGNQcdz1LQN1C54sTh6JxtdTThnyyq6Bh4rTtTsJXLns4h4Wt8!-2077849862?oppId=78733&mode=VIEW


The DGP is closely aligned with Agency Initiatives addressing today’s pressing problems of hunger and food security, health impacts of insufficient water resources, and challenges that accompany global climate change, local capacity development, and women and peace-building as well as post-conflict resolution. This RFA encourages applicants to propose effective, innovative approaches that contribute to the achievement of development objectives in the sectors specified for this third cycle of DGP funding. Funds for the DGP are available for activities in the following three sectors: water (especially water and sanitation), microenterprise and climate change adaptation.


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) established the Development Grants Program (DGP) under the Office of Development Partners, Private and Voluntary Cooperation Division (ODP/PVC), as a small grants program which would increase the number and quality of NGO (both local and U.S.-based) implementing partners who can meet the needs of the communities they serve and contribute to the accomplishment of the Agency’s goals and objectives.


The purpose of the DGP is to create new partnerships between USAID and NGOs that have had limited or no prior funding from and experience working directly with USAID. A key goal of the DGP is to expand USAID’s NGO network of development partners and provide capacity building support to the new partners. In doing so, USAID will enable a wider range of partners to better meet their constituents’ needs and contribute to development outcomes. Increased U.S.PVO and LNGO capacity will expand the number of organizations that make enduring contributions to the evolving needs of those they serve. The objectives of the DGP as presented in this Request for Applications are: 1. Broadened participation in USAID programs of LNGOs and U.S. PVOs with experience and expertise relevant to priority USAID and partner country development objectives; 2. Expanded numbers of LNGOs and U.S. PVOs with planning, management and service delivery systems adequate to implement USAID-funded activities; and 3. Measurable contributions by LNGOs and U.S. PVOs to the achievement of the development objectives for participating USAID Missions’ country programs, in particular as they pertain to Agency priorities and initiatives.

Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship - Water For People's Ned Breslin WINS

All right Skoll Foundation!  Great call.

Water For People’s CEO, Ned Breslin, has been named one of only four winners of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2011. This award is given every year to small number of social entrepreneurs who are solving the world’s most pressing problems. The Skoll Award includes a core support grant to the organization to be paid over three years and a noncash award to the social entrepreneur that is presented at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. To be considered for the Award, organizations must meet very specific Awards criteria: winners have a tested and proven social innovation that addresses an issue of critical importance and is positioned for large-scale impact. In addition to receiving the award, Ned will also participate in a discussion on Water Scarcity planned for Friday at the Skoll World Forum. For a complete list of events and a link to live streaming and videos of the event, please visit  

And from Water For People: "Ned and all of us at Water For People take our commitment to sustainable water and sanitation programming seriously, and the Skoll Award is a valuable reminder that we have a tremendous responsibility to those whose lives we are intervening in to ensure our work stands the test of time." WELL said.

Congratulations to the entire organization!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gates Foundation Grant Opportunities - Create the Next Generation of Sanitation Technologies

From the Gates Foundation below: note their interest in sanitation:

Create the Next Generation of Sanitation Technologies

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is now accepting grant proposals for Round 7 of Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative to encourage innovative and unconventional global health solutions. Applicants can be at any experience level; in any discipline; and from any organization, including colleges and universities, government laboratories, research institutions, non-profit organizations and for profit companies.

Grant proposals are being accepted online until May 19, 2011 on the following topics:

* Explore Nutrition for Healthy Growth of Infants and Children

* Apply Synthetic Biology to Global Health Challenges

* The Poliovirus Endgame: Create Innovative Ways to Accelerate, Sustain, and Monitor Eradication

* Create the Next Generation of Sanitation Technologies

* Design New Approaches to Cure HIV Infection

* Create Low-Cost Cell Phone-Based Solutions for Improved Uptake and Coverage of Childhood Vaccinations

Initial grants will be US $100,000 each, and projects showing promise will have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to US $1 million. Full descriptions of the new topics and application instructions are available at: 

We are looking forward to receiving innovative ideas from around the world and from all disciplines. If you have a great idea, apply. If you know someone else who may have a great idea, please forward this message.

Thank you for your commitment to solving the world's greatest health challenges.


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people - especially those with the fewest resources - have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chris Holmes Designated as USAID's Global Water Coordinator

Great news out of Washington DC / USAID recently. The appointment of Chris Holmes is a big step forward for the implementation of the Water for the Poor Act.

The Office of the Administrator is very pleased to announce that Administrator Shah has designated Christian olmes to serve as the USAID Global Water Coordinator.

This is the first time that USAID has established such a leadership position. The Coordinator is the senior representative within USAID responsible for coordinating the implementation of key water policy initiatives, including USAID's water strategy, as well as related areas in the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, USAID Forward and the integration of the USAID water programs and policies with new agency initiatives that are critically dependent on water (i.e. Feed the Future initiative, Global Health, and Global Climate Change). The Coordinator will also serve as the primary spokesman and liaison with public and private organizations, including congressional leaders, to coordinate water efforts. The Coordinator will coordinate USAID efforts to implement the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act.

The incumbent is also responsible for providing technical and intellectual advice and guidance to Agency senior leadership on water policy, budget, and strategy. The Coordinator will work closely with the Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade (EGAT), as well as the Bureau for Policy, Program and Learning (PPL) and other Agency units, in carrying out these responsibilities.

Christian Holmes comes with a depth and breadth of experience to enable him to coordinate USAID's global water efforts. Since joining USAID in January of 2010 as the Senior Advisor for Energy and Environment, he has been a key lead in USAID and interagency discussions on water as well as providing support to USAID Missions. Holmes has also served as Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Refugee Programs, and Acting Director of the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. As a USAID Senior Foreign Service Officer with rank of Minister Counselor, he twice received the Presidential Meritorious Service Award. At the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), he was confirmed by the Senate as both Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Administrator for Administration and Resource Management and also served as EPA's Deputy for Federal Facilities Enforcement and Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response. Holmes served in the U.S. Army, Second Lieutenant, Civil Affairs, receiving the U.S. Army Soldier's Medal for Heroism.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy World Plumbing Day from the U.S. Senate!

Check out S. Res. 100 at


March 10, 2011

Mr. BENNET (for himself, Mrs. MURRAY, and Mr. MERKLEY) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


Designating March 11, 2011, as `World Plumbing Day'.

Whereas the industry of plumbing plays an important role in safeguarding the public health of the people of the United States and the world;

Whereas 884,000,000 people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water;

Whereas 2,600,000,000 people around the world live without adequate sanitation facilities;

Whereas the lack of sanitation is the largest cause of infection in the world;

Whereas in the developing world, 24,000 children under the age of 5 die every day from preventable causes, such as diarrhea contracted from unclean water;

Whereas safe and efficient plumbing helps save money and reduces future water supply costs and infrastructure costs;

Whereas the installation of modern plumbing systems must be accomplished in a specific, safe manner by trained professionals in order to prevent widespread disease, which can be crippling and deadly to the community;

Whereas the people of the United States rely on plumbing professionals to maintain, repair, and rebuild the aging water infrastructure of the United States; and

Whereas Congress and plumbing professionals across the United States and the world are committed to safeguarding public health: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate designates March 11, 2011, as `World Plumbing Day'.

Friday, March 11, 2011

USAID Water Report for 2009 - released - Safeguarding the World's Water

USAID's Water Report for FY2009 has just been released:

This report shows that during FY 2009, USAID allocated more than $630 million for water sector activities. The amount allocated for water supply, sanitation, and hygiene was $493 million. During this time, USAID provided 6.4 million people with first-time or improved water supply and 3.4 million people with first-time or improved sanitation. Disinfection products, partially or wholly supported by USAID, were used to purify 7.8 billion liters of drinking water, more than 6.6 billion liters of which were made available to people in African countries.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DC Environmental Film Festival on Global Water Crisis, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Chattahoochee | Pulitzer Center

DC Environmental Film Festival on Global Water Crisis, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Chattahoochee Pulitzer Center

Let's watch a series of cool water movies in DC on March 21 - please join if you can.

Event date: March 21, 2011 - 6:00pm

Carnegie Institution for Science, Elihu Root Auditorium, 1530 P St., NW (Metro: Dupont Circle)

RSVP with Eventbrite

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting presents films on water and population to mark World Water Day, March 22.

Discussion with Katherine Bliss, Director of the Global Water Policy Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and filmmakers Stephen Sapienza, Rhett Turner, Jonathan Wickham and Fred de Sam Lazaro follows screening. Moderated by Pulitzer Center Executive Director Jon Sawyer.

DHAKA’S CHALLENGE: A MEGACITY STRUGGLES WITH WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE (Bangladesh, 2011, 7 min.) Over 1,000 people move to Dhaka everyday, but almost two-thirds of Dhaka’s sewage is untreated and left to seep into waterways and the ground. Tens of thousands of people die each year of cholera, diarrhea, and other waterborne diseases in Bangladesh—but the country is also an innovator in promising new approaches to providing clean water and decent sanitation for all. Produced by Emmy Award Winner Stephen Sapienza.

DONGTING HU: A LAKE IN FLUX (China, 2011, 5 min.) The surface area of Dongting Lake has fallen by half in the last 70 years. Lying off of the great Yangtze River, it is one of China's most important lakes. Land reclamation, pollution and overfishing threaten its existence. Produced by National Geographic China photographer Sean Gallagher.

WATER SCARCITY ON THE INDUS RIVER (India and Pakistan, 2010, 7 min.) The recent Indus flood put attention on too much water but Pakistan's real problem is too little—and too many people. This PBS NewsHour segment investigates how the impending water crisis might be related to population growth and poorly planned development. Reporting by PBS NewsHour Correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro.

CHATTAHOOCHEE: FROM WATER WAR TO WATER VISION (USA, 2010, 8 min. excerpt) For 20 years Alabama, Florida and Georgia have been locked in a fierce battle over one river—the Chattahoochee. Through the eyes of ordinary people up and down its banks, the film explores what's at stake and asks the question: Can differences be resolved before the waters run dry? Produced by Rhett Turner and Jonathan Wickham for Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy International Women's Day!

For Immediate Release

Contact: John Oldfield
(202) 293-4049
joldfield (at)

WASH Advocacy Initiative Is Launched, and Celebrates International Women’s Day with a Call for Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All

March 8, 2011 (Washington, D.C.) – On International Women’s Day, the WASH Advocacy Initiative calls on U.S. policy makers, corporate and philanthropic leaders, and civic and faith communities to make the investments and create the policies necessary to end the global water and sanitation crisis, one that disproportionally affects the health, education, productivity and livelihoods of billions of women and girls around the world.

Launched in early 2011 and made possible by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Wallace Genetic Foundation, the WASH Advocacy Initiative is led by, CARE, Global Water Challenge, and Water For People. It supports a coalition of more than a dozen partner organizations all dedicated to the common goal of ending the global water and sanitation crisis. The Initiative raises awareness of the global WASH challenge, increases financial resources for proven, sustainable solutions, and gives everyone the opportunity to learn more and get engaged through and

“The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns. This reality impacts the daily lives of billions and the economic productivity of countless countries around the world,” says Gary White, Chair of the WASH Advocacy Initiative and co-founder of “I can think of no other investment in international development that is as strategic to our nation or as morally imperative as this.”

Today, every 20 seconds a child dies from a preventable waterborne disease. Access to safe water, basic sanitation, and hygiene is the foundation for providing sustainable health, education, poverty alleviation, environment and security for families and communities around the world. Each dollar invested in safe drinking water and sanitation provides an eight dollar (8:1) return on that investment in reduced healthcare costs and time savings. With improved access to safe water and sanitation, not only do families thrive with improved health, but women and girls who traditionally spend hours every day fetching unsafe water are able to devote their time to more productive, often income-producing, activities. In Kenya, girls are absent less in schools where handwashing is more prevalent and there is increased single gender toilet use. Water and sanitation facilities were built at a school in Nigeria, growing school attendance from 320 to 538 pupils.

“On International Women’s Day, there must be a clarion call to action to provide WASH to women and their families across the world and a global commitment to tackle today’s most grave and most solvable global health challenge,” says Kathy Baczko, Director of Global Partnerships at the WASH Advocacy Initiative. “Women in the United States and around the world need to mobilize their voices, votes, and financial resources for WASH on behalf of women and families in need.”

About the WASH Advocacy Initiative:

The WASH Advocacy Initiative (WAI) is a nonprofit advocacy effort in Washington DC entirely dedicated to helping solve the global safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenge. Our mission is to increase awareness of the global WASH challenge and solutions, and to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources devoted to solving the problem around the developing world. WAI is supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Wallace Genetic Foundation, and four organizations who have detailed staff persons to WAI:, CARE, Water For People, and Global Water Challenge.

About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation:

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in five priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, caring for vulnerable children, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters. Following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded nearly $940 million in grants, distributing more than $100 million in 2010. The Foundation’s current assets are approximately $2 billion. For more information, please visit


Monday, March 7, 2011

World Water Day / Update / Donate Your Voice

Water is life. Today millions scavenge for water and billions don't have a toilet. You can help.

Please visit at your earliest convenience, and join us in Washington DC or far beyond on World Water Day March 22.

On March 21 there will be a learning forum on WASH Sustainability.

On March 22 there will be a series of events (likely including the US State Department and World Bank)

On March 23, the US WASH advocacy sector is organizing our Hill Day, during which we will help educated Members of the US Congress on the global WASH issue. Please visit here to sign up.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rotary DC Water Summit - April 15, 2011

Save - the - Date

The Rotary Club of Washington DC and the Rotary Club Paris Academies have announced the International Summit on Water in Developing Countries, scheduled for April 15, 2011, in Washington DC. The conference is a joint project of the Rotary Club of Washington, DC and the Rotary Club Paris Academies in conjunction with more than 120 Rotary Clubs in Rotary District 7620 (United States) and 1660 (France). More information:


>Assessing progress toward the Millennium Development Goals

>Current state of water development in developing countries

>Key issues and lessons learned -- where we go from here

>Imperatives for future programming and sustainability

>Role of community-designed, community-implemented solutions

>New international partnerships -- leveraging 1.2 million highly motivated policymakers, business leaders and resource champions, and other untapped resources

Please join if you can.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing: Realizing the Right to Safe Water and Sanitation

Good morning everyone,

As regular readers know, the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission held a hearing yesterday on Capitol Hill on "Realizing the Right to Safe Water and Sanitation." Thanks to the UUSC I was given an opportunity to testify. My brief remarks follow. Happy to provide more background on this if any of you want offline.


Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, U.S. Congress
Realizing the Right to Safe Water and Sanitation
March 3, 2011

Testimony by:

John Oldfield, Managing Director
WASH Advocacy Initiative
Safe Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for All

Thank you to co-Chairs Congressman Jim McGovern and Congressman Frank Wolf for convening us, and for your cosponsorship of last Congress’ Water for the World Act.

I also want to also acknowledge Tom Lantos, an outstanding American who through his life and career inspired many in America and around the world to join him in the fight for what is right. I am honored to testify before a commission bearing his name and I am confident he would be proud of this Commission’s work today.

We at the WASH Advocacy Initiative are grateful for Congress’ bipartisan leadership on the water and sanitation issue. Many members of the Human Rights Commission have been strong supporters of the Water for the Poor Act over the years.

My personal commitment to water and sanitation began in the 1990s working on democracy and governance programs throughout Africa. I learned that democracy requires a great deal of work, and that democracy - and even basic security and stability - is a struggle for those people fighting to get enough food, water, and healthcare to keep their children alive, strong, and in school. I was thus drawn to advocating for safe, affordable, and sustainable access to drinking water and sanitation for the greatest number of people worldwide. Water is a fundamental human necessity in its own right and vital to sustainable progress in health, education, gender equity, and poverty alleviation.

There remain almost one billion people on the planet without safe drinking water, and 2.6 billion without adequate sanitation facilities. More than 25 diseases caused by inadequate water and sanitation create 10% of the global public health burden. They kill two million people a year (90% of whom are children under five: more children than from AIDS, TB and malaria combined) and trigger 50% of the world’s malnutrition.

This is preventable.

Pint-size coffins suck.

The world does not need to bury millions more of its children in the coming years when we know how to prevent waterborne disease today. And each dollar invested in water and sanitation leads to an 8:1 return from reduced healthcare costs and time savings.

The WASH Advocacy Initiative is a collaborative advocacy effort designed to get safe, affordable, and sustainable drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene to more people in developing countries. We are fully supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Wallace Genetic Foundation, and by four nonprofits:, the Global Water Challenge, Water For People, and CARE. Many more organizations working actively on WASH advocacy are here in the room today including WaterAid, PSI, Millennium Water Alliance, PATH.

Whether it is described as a human right or simply as the right thing to do, the important goal is that everyone across the globe has access to safe, affordable, and sustainable drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene.

The message we want to leave you with is: the global water and sanitation challenge is solvable, it is being solved sustainably by communities all over the world, and we are doing what we can to accelerate those solutions.

We humbly request the U.S. government to:

1) Preserve funding for foreign assistance, while providing the oversight necessary to ensure it is well-spent.
2) Continue to appropriate funds to fully implement the Water for the Poor Act. A recent report from WaterAid, NRDC, and CARE concludes that the implementation of the Act is moving in the right direction, but not fast enough. The WASH sector applauds the appointment of Chris Holmes as Global Water Coordinator at USAID as a significant step forward.
3) Increase the effectiveness of WASH assistance, e.g.:
a. Provide increased oversight
b. Promote monitoring and evaluation over longer periods of time
c. Promote more interagency coordination
d. Encourage the U.S. Department of State and USAID to develop a true strategy to fully implement the Water for the Poor Act
4) Improve the targeting of WASH assistance by directing as many resources as possible to countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America where the need for first-time access to WASH is most severe and where assistance could be particularly transformative.

These actions will likely:

- catalyze more support from foundations, corporations, and civic organizations like Rotary International and the Lions Club International Foundation

- inspire more support from faith-based groups around the United States

- encourage powerful grassroots organizations like charity: water and ONE to do even more for safe water

Our goal today is to inspire the U.S. to do more. This is a genuine leadership opportunity for the U.S. to seize. It is a grave but solvable challenge which can save millions of lives, unite Americans, and improve the image of the U.S. abroad.

These are unsure times on Capitol Hill and beyond. But none of us are worried about our children dying from easily preventable waterborne disease today. Water-related death and disease have traditionally been unavoidable; let us together make them unacceptable.

Thank you to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and its co-Chairs Congressman McGovern and Congressman Wolf, and to the UUSC for the opportunity.

The entire WASH sector is grateful for your support and interest and we look forward to working with you.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing: Realizing the Right to Safe Water and Sanitation

For those of you in Washington DC, please do join us (including yours truly) for a very interesting hearing on “Realizing the Right to Safe Water and Sanitation” on March 3. Details below, and please email me if you need additional background.
Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) Hearing:

Realizing the Right to Safe Water and Sanitation

Thursday, March 3, 2011
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
2118 Rayburn HOB

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the right to safe water and sanitation. According to the World Health Organization, 884 million people in the world—roughly 1/8 of the global population—do not have access to safe water. Moreover, 2.6 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation, and 1.4 million children die every year as a result of water-borne diseases.

This hearing will explore the impact of recent UN resolutions declaring the right to safe drinking water and sanitation a universal human right. We will also examine the role of U.S. foreign policy with respect to water issues and prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals; the implementation of the Water for the Poor Law; and global challenges facing vulnerable people around the world regarding access to safe water and sanitation.

To discuss these issues we welcome the following witnesses:***

Panel I:

Administration Witness (to be confirmed)

Panel II:

Catarina de Albuquerque, UN Human Rights Council Independent Expert on the Issue of Human Rights Obligations Related to Access to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation

Panel III:

Rev. William Schulz, President and CEO, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Rev. John McCullough, Executive Director and CEO, Church World Service
Katherine Bliss, Director, Project on Global Water Policy, Global Health Policy Center, Center for Strategic and International Studies
John Oldfield, Managing Director, WASH Advocacy Initiative

***Witness list subject to change.

If you have any questions, please contact Ari Levin (Rep. McGovern) or Elizabeth Hoffman (Rep. Wolf) at 202-225-3599.

James P. McGovern Frank R. Wolf

Member of Congress Member of Congress

Co-Chair, TLHRC Co-Chair, TLHRC

Thursday, February 24, 2011

World Water Summit 2011 / Rotary / New Orleans

Information below from our good friends at Rotary International's Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group. I spoke at this event last year in Montreal and expect to do so again this year.

World Water Summit IV is being held on Friday, May 20, 2011 in New Orleans, USA, immediately before the international Rotary Convention.

We've made a few changes this year: there will be one set of workshops in the morning and one in the afternoon, each two hours long. This is in response to feedback from last year's attendees, and is intended to provide a more hands-on, useful, learning experience.

Click here to see the draft program. This year's plenary speakers, and workshop topics and leaders, are outstanding!

We hope you will join us again. Click here for more information about the event, and registration.

If you have any other questions, please contact the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group at info (at)  wasrag (d0t)  org.

The World Water Summit IV Team

Wednesday, February 23, 2011



NEW YORK (February 21, 2011) –, the global open data visualization platform created by Seed Media Group and GE, opened its World Water Day data visualization challenge today in collaboration with Circle of Blue, the leading news organization reporting on global water challenges. The challenge calls on designers, data experts, and visualizers to tap into the world’s stream of water data to create visualizations specifically on the topic of urban water. The international contest offers a $5,000 cash prize to the winner and offers a chance for contestants to help solve urban water issues through data and design.

The challenge topic was inspired by the World Water Day 2011 theme Water for Cities.

“Many of the world’s metropolitan centers lack the planning, infrastructure, and water resources needed to support the mass migration of residents from rural to urban areas,” says J. Carl Ganter, Director of Circle of Blue, “This is why cities are simultaneously places where the most dire resource challenges converge and where new ideas and water-related investments can be tested.” Circle of Blue therefore teamed up with to host a challenge that would make use of the abundance of water data available.

“We’re delighted to partner with Circle of Blue to host a challenge that galvanizes our community of cross-disciplinary thinkers and designers to use the open water data to reveal new patterns and trends and introduce new ways of understanding urban water issues,” says Adam Bly, Founder of

The competition runs from February 21 through March 15 and will be judged by a panel of water and data experts as well as information designers. The results will be released on World Water Day, March 22, at To enter the competition or to find more information, visit

Share your data

Competition organizers encourage researchers, organizations and government agencies to share their data or point to links of existing data they would like participants to consider. Email suggestions and links to visualizing (at)  circleofblue (dot)  org Additional data, resources and links are located at

About is an open online data visualization platform created by Seed Media Group and GE. It is a free resource for designers and students looking for open data about world issues – such as climate change and global health; a platform for the creative community to share visualizations with each other and the public under a Creative Commons share-alike non-commercial license; a service that provides researchers, decision makers, media organizations, educators and the public with important information design; and a tool for schools to showcase the work of their students and help bring data visualization into the classroom.

About Circle of Blue

Circle of Blue is the national and global network of leading multimedia journalists, researchers and data experts that produces daily coverage and trend-setting reports about water issues from every continent. Circle of Blue approaches the freshwater crisis with three coordinated, interrelated components: front-line journalism, existing and new science and data, and communications design. Circle of Blue’s widely referenced reporting makes water issues personal and relevant while providing a hub for data visualization, aggregation and integration. Circle of Blue applies the best tools of the 21st century to help provide the knowledge that people need to make informed decisions. Circle of Blue is a nonprofit affiliate of the Pacific Institute.

Media Contacts:

Saira Jesani
jesani (at)  seedmediagroup (dot)  com

J. Carl Ganter
Circle of Blue
media (at)  circleofblue (dot)  org
+1.202.351.6870 x110


A Challenge: Making Sense of Water Issues Through Data and Design

A mass migration from rural to urban areas is underway globally. More than half of humanity lives in cities. Of all the challenges that influence this transition, none is more fundamental than water. Yet many of the world’s metropolitan centers lack planning, infrastructure and the water resources needed to support the new tide of urban residents. That’s why cities are simultaneously places where the most dire resource challenges converge, and testing grounds for new ideas, practices, and water-related investments for managing urban transformation.

The Challenge, the global open platform for data visualization, and Circle of Blue, the leading news organization reporting global water challenges, issue an ambitious and rapid-fire call to designers, data experts and visualizers to tap into the world's stream of water data. The international contest, which offers a $5,000 cash prize, challenges cross-disciplinary thinkers and cutting-edge creative teams to use and display data to reveal new ways of understanding trends and patterns, complex systems and relationships.

Topic: Urban Water and Sanitation

- connections between water and infrastructure capacities in cities

- the effects of climate change on urban water supplies

- urban water systems and sources

- water quality and water pricing

- water management and city planning

- innovation

- urban water data

Sample projects

Participants might explore:

• Access to safe water and sanitation, and the relationship to education, GDP and other indicators;
• New ways to map and track water climatological changes in the U.S. Great Lakes region, which supplies water to more than 40 million people, and comparing the Great Lakes to other parts of the world;
• How urban areas use and manage water. Participants might tap into massive streams of live information from major river flows and aquifers that feed major metropolitan areas such as Mexico City or Los Angeles;
• Asia's water challenges — more than a billion people live downstream from the Himalayan glacial melt. How will climate change affect these flows and how will urban areas monitor and prepare for a potentially drier future?
• Relationships between disease, water and climate;
• Urban water management and the quality of available water data.
• Financing water infrastructure.

How to participate

Sign up online at

Visit the water challenge on for more information and data

Visit Circle of Blue's resource site at for more data and ideas.

Submit your visualization at


This is a rapid-fire competition. It opens on Monday, February 21st; the competition closes March 18 and winners will be announced on World Water Day, March 22.


Entries will be judged by a diverse panel of water and data experts, and information designers.

The winning entry will receive a $5,000 cash prize provided by GE.

Past challenges

Past challenges have compared life expectancies, explored the relationship between green space and health, charted relationships between agriculture and resources, and showed relationships between the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Councils.