GWC’s Women for Water Supports Get Water! App: Get it today!

On World Water Day (March 22, 2013), Decode Global launched Get Water!, an iPhone/iPad game that aims to truly make an impact on the lives of girls and women. The game follows the story of Maya, a young girl in the slums of India who is pulled from school to collect water for her family. 

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WASH Sustainability Forum Discusses Successes, Pitfalls in Collaborations

Washington, DC, United States — Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) experts from around the world met last week at World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC, to discuss how to improve sustainability of international WASH programs.

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World Water Day 2013

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World Water Day is held every March 22. Recognized by the United Nations and the global community, World Water Day reminds us that much of the world still faces a global water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) crisis, and that it is our urgent obligation to act.

This year’s theme as designated by the UN General Assembly is: International Year of Water Cooperation.
As a testament to this theme, efforts to coordinate events for World Water Day 2013 are taking place across the globe. This year, we are especially excited about events happening around the United States, including: performances, walks for water, social media, forums, learning events, Advocacy Day, and Water Symposia! For more details on each event, see below.
 
Let’s all help to make every day World Water Day!

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PAHO/WHO calls for international funding of new Haiti cholera plan

Haitian government reveals $2.2 billion blueprint for water and sanitation investments to eliminate cholera transmission over the next 10 years

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 27 February 2013 (PAHO/WHO) — The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) today called on the international community to provide financing for a new $2.2 billion plan from the Haitian government to eliminate cholera transmission over the next 10 years through major investments in water and sanitation.

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Thai Prime Minister Pledges to Seek Long-Term Water Management Solutions Amid Drought

Feb. 19, 2013 - Bangkok, thailand — Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra last week expressed concern that drought conditions in many provinces could intensify over the next three months, and vowed to continue to pursue long-term solutions focused on sustainable water management.
To date, 29 Thai provinces have been declared drought disaster zones, she said.

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PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Water Partnership Salutes Winners of U.S. Water Prize

U.S. WATER PARTNERSHIP SALUTES WINNERS OF U.S. WATER PRIZE 

(Washington, D.C.) February 26- Along the Reflecting Pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, the U.S. Water Alliance announced the 2013 winners of the coveted U.S. Water Prize:  Onondaga County, NY, for its program to “Save the Rain” and embrace green infrastructure solutions to wet weather problems; The Freshwater Trust for its collaborative market-based solutions to restore and protect rivers and streams; and, MillerCoors for their innovative and comprehensive strategies to protect and conserve water throughout its life cycle.  "Our 2013 U.S. Water Prize winners are leading the way, from East to West and all points in between, on the value of water and the power of innovating and integrating for one water sustainability,” boasts Alliance President Ben Grumbles.  “Our champions are showing how to save the rain, clean the stream, and grow with care, up and down the supply chain throughout the water cycle.”

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Women for Water Partnership Joins GWC

Global Water Challenge is happy to welcome Women for Water Partnership as a partner. For more information, please click here for more information or visit their website.

Mapping the Way: Experiences with Water Mapping Technologies in Nicaragua

Article By Emma Bones, Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

“It has become overwhelmingly clear that the main obstacle in the use and maintenance of improved water and sanitation systems is not the quality of technology, but the failure in qualified human resources and in management and organization techniques, including a failure to capture community interest. An appalling 35 to 50 percent of such systems in developing countries became inoperable five years after installation” (USAID 1981).

Why Water Point Mapping (WPM) is Important

The quote above is from 1981, yet high failure rates continue. Why is failure so common for water and sanitation systems in developing countries? Why is operation and maintenance such a huge challenge for many governments and NGOs? And, most importantly, why does this statistic still hold (more or less) true thirty years after it was originally discovered?

These were several of the main questions driving our research team as we traveled to Nicaragua during the summer of 2012 to test some of the newest and most promising water mapping technologies. I was part of a research team from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) that partnered with the Executive Director of Improve International, Susan Davis, and El Porvenir, an NGO based in Managua, Nicaragua to better understand the challenges facing O&M of water systems and to identify the most auspicious technologies to aid in water point monitoring. The Georgia Tech research team included Lily Ponitz (pursuing B.S. in Environmental Engineering), Allie George (pursuing B.S. in Civil Engineering), and myself, Emma Bones (pursuing M.S. in Civil Engineering).

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Meet the Georgia Tech research team posing next to one of the El Porvenir water points we mapped (from left to right): Emma Bones, Lily Ponitz, and Allie George.

Successes, Failures, and Challenges to WPM

After a careful evaluation of the current options for cellular phone surveying applications, five were selected to be brought with us to Nicaragua for testing. Those technologies were Episurveyor1, OpenXdata, DataTap, DeviceMagic, and FLOW2. We tested the difficulty of setting-up, collecting data, and analyzing data on all five of these applications while in a developing country setting.

We were able to complete water point surveying with four of the five technologies, although we did experience major issues with many of the programs. While we were able to set-up openXdata while in the US, it failed the set-up phase in Nicaragua because of its need for advanced computing knowledge, which is hard for WASH NGOs to access or afford. The next technology that experienced complications was DeviceMagic during the data collection phase; it was discovered that the program would automatically delete water point entries overnight if they had not been uploaded via wifi the day before. The other technology that experienced major issues was Episurveyor during the data analysis phase; when we returned to the main office in Nicaragua at the end of the trip, we discovered that the online form had somehow been deleted. Eventually, we were able to download the data from the phone in a text file and import it into an excel document, but this took an above average knowledge of computer systems.

Lessons Learned and Room for Improvement

The most important result of our research was the development of a comprehensive rubric to compare the technologies tested. Each technology was given a score based on its performance in the categories and subcategories designed based on our field experience. The final scores and categories are listed below. We hope the rubric will help NGOs decide which water mapping technology is best for them and will help the technology developers improve upon their products’ weaknesses.

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Allie and Lily entering data into the mobile phones at one of the wells we mapped. We were able to map each well in less than 10 minutes with the mobile technology.

Despite the issues that we encountered in our surveying efforts, many of these technologies showed great promise for helping governments and NGOs better understand and communicate the long-term success of their water points. These technologies could be especially helpful in comparing water points world-wide if a specific set of questions could be developed to gauge each water system’s performance. It would be easy to see which NGOs and countries are the highest performers, and with that understanding, their successful methods could be studied and applied to less successful organizations and areas. These water mapping technologies offer great potential in the area of international aid. However, there are still many program bugs to be solved before world-wide adoption will be possible.

If you have any more questions about our research or have an interest in us testing and ranking one of your technologies, we encourage you to reach out to us at: intern@improveinternational.org.

Final Scores of WPM Technologies:

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Categories of Rubric:

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  1. Note that an updated version of Episurveyor called Magpi has been released since we conducted this study 

  2. We only had access to the older version, and as of now, the newest version has still not been released 

Vietnam’s New Water Amendment Gives Local Communities More Say Over Projects’ Water Use

Vietnam, HANOI — In an amendment to the Law on Water Resources that came into effect with the new year, communities in Vietnam will now in theory have more say over projects that use water in their areas.
The amendment, which was approved last June, stipulates that investors in projects that use water or discharge waste into water bodies are required to consult with communities in local areas so the environmental impacts of the projects can be assessed during the planning stage.
However, Nguyen Thuy Anh of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, expressed concerns about the vagueness of portions of the amendment.

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The Coca-Cola Company Endorses WASH Sustainability Charter
100th Endorsement Cements Charter as Key Framework for Lasting Services in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Sector

Washington, D.C, January 16, 2013 - The Coca-Cola Company, one of the world’s largest private sector supporters of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) solutions around the world has signed on to the WASH Sustainability Charter. The first Fortune-500 company to endorse the Charter, The 
Coca-Cola Company’s backing marks the 100th endorsement for the Charter, which outlines key steps for creating lasting WASH services.  

Ensuring long-term WASH service provisions is one of the greatest challenges, and most important objectives, facing the international development community. As many as 30-50% of clean drinking water projects fail prematurely, squandering limited resources and devastating communities that rely on these services. In response to this challenge, The Coca-Cola Company joins a diverse group of stakeholders, including donors, NGOs, academic groups, government agencies and others committed to the common principles for lasting services laid out in the Charter

The Coca-Cola Company is endorsing the Charter because we believe that investments in WASH initiatives will and should span generations. Through the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), we have always looked to develop supply chains, means of communication, and a finance stream for communities to be able to sustain the safe water and sanitation systems we help provide, which is one of the biggest challenges facing the water sector,” says Greg Koch, the Director of Global Stewardship in the Corporate Sustainability Office at The Coca-Cola Company. “Signing the Charter strengthens our commitment to enable lasting community ownership and operation of these water access and treatment systems.”

We are particularly pleased that Coca-Cola, as the private sector’s leading champion and funder of WASH programs around the world, has publicly committed to supporting clean water programs meant to be as sustainable as their brand,” said Monica Ellis, CEO of Global Water Challenge, a lead developer of the Charter.

This endorsement has impacts beyond Coca-Cola’s investments in WASH and underscores the company’s broader commitment to sustainable growth across its businesses. “We can’t talk about climate change, green growth or a sustainable tomorrow without addressing water and sanitation issues today,” said Jae So, Manager of The World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program.  ”With 2.5 billion people lacking adequate sanitation, the world is in the midst of a water and sanitation crisis. Global businesses recognize this absolute fact and are putting important actions in place today. We applaud Coca-Cola’s recognition and pursuit of the shared value of water and sanitation by endorsing this Charter.”  

The endorsement marks a key milestone for the Charter, developed in 2011, and comes at a pivotal time for the sustainability of WASH services around the world. Through SustainableWASH.org (where the Charter is hosted), the principles of the Charter are being translated into action through self-assessment tools, a library, a discussion board, and other resources.

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About SustainableWASH.org:

SustainableWASH.org provides a dynamic hub of the WASH sustainability conversation and hosts the WASH Sustainability Process; a three-step assessment process built on the foundation of the WASH Sustainability Charterand designed to improve WASH sustainability globally. In early 2012, representatives from a consortium of organizations (Aguaconsult, Global Water Challenge, IRC and WASH Advocates) came together to build on previous work around sustainability and create SustainableWASH.org. This website provides a platform to assess, learn, and share best practices related to WASH. By learning and sharing from each other, we can work together to support services that will last into the future.  For additional information, please visit SustainableWASH.org or contact info@sustainablewash.org.

About The Coca-Cola Company:

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands.  Led by Coca-Cola, the world’s most valuable brand, our Company’s portfolio features 15 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks.  Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.8 billion servings a day.  With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate.  Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world’s top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates.  For more information, visit www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter attwitter.com/CocaColaCo or visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com.

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