A delegation of researchers affiliated with the Berkeley Water Center was invited to participate in a day-long workshop in Beijing, China, for World Water Day (March 22).
The Berkeley team included Professor Isha Ray (Energy and Resources Group), Professor Jack Colford (Public Health), Dr. Ayşe Ercumen (Public Health) and Alasdair Cohen (EnvironmentalScience Policy and Management). The National Center for Rural Water Supply Technical Guidance (NCRWSTG), which is headed by Director Tao Yang, is part of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC); the NCRWSTG organized the World Water Day event to share research ideas of mutual interest, new results, and implementation challenges, on safe water and sanitation. The specific emphasis of the day was on low-income rural and urban areas. Researchers and practitioners from the China CDC, UNICEF, Chinese universities and the Women’s Development Foundation spoke and attended.
A wide range of talks covered the economic, water quality and health impacts of water system upgrades in urban areas; results from experimental research studies on the health impacts of safe water technologies and safe water interventions; and the differential water quality impacts of disinfecting by boiling in open pots versus boiling in electric kettles. (This last theme is part of an ongoing collaboration between Berkeley and the CCDC; paper here). The China-based researchers shared their insights on the achievements and challenges of rural school sanitation, intermittent and small water supply systems, indicators of the risks of water-related diseases, and weight-for-age differences between rural and urban children. Overall, the exchanges were highly informative and useful for both parties, and BWC researchers hope that such opportunities will arise again in the near future.