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Southern California World Water Forum Ends as College Teams Display Solutions to Local, Global Water Challenges

Friday, April 19, 2013 1:23 PM

A relief effort that built wells for a hospital and school for the blind in a remote southeast African village and a roundtable discussion on capturing urban storm water in the San Fernando Valley were among the projects showcased as an 18-month college grant program concluded today.

Fifteen teams representing 11 universities and community colleges convened at Metropolitan Water District’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters to present prototypes and projects developed by students to address local and worldwide water issues as part of the Southern California World Water Forum.

Co-sponsored by Metropolitan, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, with in-kind contributions from Friends of the United Nations and Water For People, the competition awarded teams $10,000 to research, develop and communicate water-use efficiency technology that can be used cost-effectively in water-stressed regions, locally or globally.

“Just as water issues cut across every geographic, social, economic and cultural line, so too will water solutions,” said Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger. “Continuing to develop those solutions will depend on the type of interdisciplinary approaches represented today by the World Water Forum, where creative ideas lead to innovation and improvements in water supply reliability that can be quantified.”

Participating colleges in this World Water Forum funding cycle were California State University, Long Beach; Fullerton College; Loma Linda University; Loyola Marymount University; Mt. San Antonio College; Pasadena City College; San Diego State University; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of California, Riverside; the University of California, Santa Barbara; and Woodbury University/Aridlands Institute (see accompanying list of projects).

The initial 2004 launch of the Southern California World Water Forum coincided with the United Nation’s General Assembly proclamation of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Life.” As part of that effort, the U.N.’s nearly 200 international members committed to cut by half, by the year 2015, the number of communities throughout the world living without clean drinking water or basic sanitation.

Today, although the gap has narrowed, the U.N. estimates nearly two in 10 people in the world still do not have safe drinking water and four out of 10 people lack basic sanitation. Every year, millions of people, mostly children, die from diseases associated with deficiencies in fresh water, sanitation and hygiene, according to the U.N.

“Since the first World Water Forum kicked off nine years ago, our goal has been to increase student understanding of water supply, quality, sanitation and conservation issues,” said William Steele, Bureau of Reclamation area manager. “Judging by the quality of the projects in this latest round of grants, we have met our educational agenda, and inspired and been inspired in the process.”

More than 300 students from 21 community colleges and universities throughout Southern California have completed 41 projects over the three World Water Forum grant cycles.

The latest round of globally focused projects include a water conveyance and filtration system for a health center and school for the blind in Malawi in southeast Africa; a clean water project for a region in El Salvador; a water sustainability project for a community in Guatemala; and a groundwater chlorination and distribution system designed for rural Kenya.

Grant projects with a local focus include a water quality and treatment project that minimizes the formation of a particular disinfection byproduct during ozone treatment; identifying potential areas within the San Fernando Valley basin for groundwater replenishment with urban storm and rainwater; and developing an integrated system that combines efficient landscape design, rainfall and gray water collection and treatment with a below-ground drainage system to maximize water conservation in the Long Beach area.

Grace Robinson Chan, chief engineer and general manager of the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, pointed out the many issues the wastewater management industry faces as the primary reason for its World Water Forum support.

“We are facing significant challenges such as aging infrastructure, increased regulations and a need to utilize the resource of recycled water,” Robinson Chan said. “We hope this program has encouraged students to choose a career in the water sector and to make a lifelong dedication to this field.”

Benita Lynn Horn, who oversees the World Water Forum as a certified teacher in Metropolitan’s Education Programs section, said the interdisciplinary program brings together undergraduate and graduate student teams whose areas of research include international relations, urban planning, geography, biology, civil engineering, economics, and political and environmental sciences.

“The benefits provided by this program stretch beyond the prototypes and policies developed for application in water-challenged areas in both global and local regions,” Horn said. “Participation in the program helps foster student interest in engineering, environmental sciences or related careers in both the water and wastewater industries.”

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.



California State University, Long Beach


An Integrated Water Recycling, Treatment and Efficient Landscape Design System for Water Conservation at the American Gold Star Manor, Long Beach
Fullerton College


Wastefully or Sustainably, How Does Your Garden Grow?
Loma Linda University


Eastern Coachella Crowd Sourcing: Empowering youth to advocate for improved wastewater management
Loyola Marymount University LADWP Clean Water for Isla Espiritu Santo, Usulatán, El Salvador
Loyola Marymount University LADWP Water Conveyance and Filtration System for the Malingunde School for the Blind and Health Center
Mt. San Antonio College


Mt. SAC Student Water Forum
Pasadena City College


Water, Fish and Food: Aquaponic Technology & Community Outreach in Times of Water Scarcity
San Diego State University


Formation of Halonitromethanes during Ozonation of Drinking Water
San Diego State University


Compressible Filters from Flexible Granular Media
University of California,

Los Angeles


Water Sustainability Project: Chocantariy, Guatemala
University of California, Riverside


Pulse Method: Pasteurization Using a Lens and Solar Energy Method
University of California, Riverside


Are Water Conservation Programs Effective?
University of California,

Santa Barbara


Groundwater Chlorination and Distribution System Design for Rural Kenyan Communities
University of California,

Santa Barbara


Bucket Biosand Filter Enhanced with Slow-Release Silver-Impregnated Ceramic Debris: An Innovative Point-of-Use Water Filtration and Disinfection System for Malawi and Beyond
Woodbury University /

Aridlands Institute


"Where is it? Let's (re)Use It": Developing a Fine-Scaled Geospatial Modeling Tool for the Strategic Reassessing and Uncovering of Urban Stormwater Resources

(Source: Business Wire )
(Source: Quotemedia)


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