October 12, 2011
By James S. Tyree, The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — An Australian environmental health engineer will be honored this month at the University of Oklahoma for his 30 years of trying to provide access to clean water for people in developing countries.
University of Queensland professor Ben Fawcett was chosen to receive the OU International Water Prize during the 2011 OU International WaTER Conference. The event is scheduled for Oct. 24-26 and will be hosted by the OU College of Engineering’s Water Technologies for Emerging Regions (WaTER).
Fawcett also plans to speak and deliver a presentation during the conference.
“I hope to focus the minds of delegates at the conference on the sanitation and hygiene needs of at least a billion people living in slums in the towns and cities of the developing world — a number that is expected to double by 2030 and that will probably triple, to one third of the global population, by the middle of this century,” Fawcett said.
He also plans to “highlight the terrible impacts of inadequate facilities and services, to draw parallels with and lessons from our own situation in Europe and North America 150 years ago to indicate some ways forward and to suggest some contributions that well, thought-out education can make in this work.”
The conference agenda includes several invited keynote presentations, 24 contributed oral presentation sessions, a poster session, a panel discussion, luncheon speakers and a banquet that includes Fawcett’s lecture.
The event will conclude with half-day workshops on the morning of Oct. 26. The first is a technical workshop that focuses on drilling and pump technologies, eco-latrine design and construction, and bio-sand filter design and construction.
The second workship on social entrepreneurship will have participants work in teams to develop a “super hero” who will solve water problems, and then take the characteristics of the super hero and transfer them to a socially conscious business.
Both workshops are free for conference participants who pre-register for the conference and workshop by Monday.
For more conference information or to register, visit water.ou.edu.