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Water is life: 10 years of global water research and aid

Water is life: 10 years of global water research and aid

September 8, 2014 at 12:00am

In previous issues of FIU Magazine, we brought you the story of GLOWS, or Global Water for Sustainability, the largest USAID grant at FIU. This $80 million project set out a decade ago to make an impact on the global water crisis by developing a new model of university-directed, scientifically guided, collaborative development work.

Ten years later, as the work of the GLOWS program scales down on four continents, FIU has distinguished itself as a global solution center for one of the most urgent environmental and public health and problems on the planet. FIU is one of just a handful of universities leading such wide-reaching global development efforts. The project involved FIU hydrologists, ecologists, biologists, public health and legal experts, as well graduate students doing research on water-related issues.

The global water crisis is a complex, multifaceted problem of supply, access and management. In some places, there is not enough fresh, clean water. In other places, water is plentiful but poorly managed.

The solutions delivered by the FIU-led GLOWS teams are sustainable, locally managed and integrated across communities, regions and governmental organizations. Through GLOWS, Thousands of families now have access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation systems. Communities are now following customized water management plans that protect natural resources. Through targeted educational campaigns, thousands of schoolchildren now have understanding of basic hygiene, which will reduce the incidence of sometimes-deadly waterborne illness. Local men are now trained to build pumps and can bring their skills to other communities.

The GLOWS program is emblematic of FIU’s growing visibility as a globally engaged research university. As FIU expands its reach in the community and around the world, you can expect to see us leading the way as a solution center for issues that matter most to our children’s future.

— Deborah O’Neil MA ’09