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Current policies cannot stabilise the Colorado River in face of ongoing megadrought

OWN member, Dr Kevin Wheeler, publish a new article in Science Magazine, titled “What will it take to stabilize the Colorado River?”

Download the article here: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abo4452

Read the Oxford Martin School’s recent article that featuring this Science publication: Current policies cannot stabilise the Colorado River in face of ongoing megadrought

“An ongoing megadrought, impacts of climate change and systematic overuse have created a crisis for the Colorado River, an essential water source for 40 million inhabitants of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. The current policies and international agreements governing this river are insufficient to maintain secure water supplies, concludes a commentary published today in the journal Science from the University of Oxford, Utah State University and Colorado State University.”

The New York Times has also recently published a great piece on the topic related to this Science article: A Painful Deadline Nears as Colorado River Reservoirs Run Critically Low

Many Congratulations!

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OWN Sessions at the AGU Fall Meeting – Now accepting abstracts!

OXFORD – July 2022

The AGU (American Geophysical Union) Fall meeting will be held in Chicago and online from 12-16 December 2022. The AGU Fall meeting is the world’s most prominent Earth and space science event, bringing together research communities to advance science and create impact. This year the theme of the meeting is ‘Science leads the future.’ OWN members and collaborators are convening two sessions that focus on pathways for better science-based decision-making. One session will focus on the nexus of water, health and climate change. The second focuses on citizen science water quality monitoring.

Abstract submission is open! Any questions about the sessions can be directed to OWN co-chair Dr Saskia Nowicki (saskia.nowicki@ouce.ox.ac.uk). Note that the conference is hybrid, so presenters will have the option to present in-person or online. The conference registration fee will be waived for residents of lower-income and lower-middle-income countries.

GeoHealth Session GH022 – Water and health in a volatile climate: science-based strategies for equitable well-being in a water secure future
Deadline for abstract submissions: Aug 3.
Submit here: https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm22/prelim.cgi/Session/160329

Session description: Global health is inextricably linked to water security, which is jeopardised by climate change. Research is needed to understand the severity and distribution of health risks as water demand and contamination pressures are compounded by the intensifying water cycle. Reliance on groundwater, for example, is central in climate-resilient water supply strategies. Yet groundwater geochemistry, salinity, and pollution risks are not sufficiently evidenced nor accounted for in policy – particularly in lower income settings. This session seeks interdisciplinary research that focuses on the complex intersection of climate change, water (in)security, and health. Following the AGU22 ‘Science Leads the Future’ theme, research presented in this session will support the inclusion of water-related health risk management in key global agendas: for example, those that focus on climate-resilient water services, net zero energy transitions, adaptation financing, and biodiversity restoration. Presentations will also indicate research priorities by outlining the limitations of evidence in this space.

Convened by OWN Co-chair Dr Saskia Nowicki from the University of Oxford, REACH programme collaborators Dr Florence Tanui from the University of Nairobi, Dr Behailu Birhanu from Addis Ababa University, and Dr May Sule from Cranfield University.

Innovation Session – Technologies & Approaches for Decentralized Water Quality Monitoring with Citizen Engagement.
Deadline for abstract submissions: Aug 17.
Link to session description and to submit is here: https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm22/prelim.cgi/Session/158916

Session Description: Many citizens have a close relationship with their local water bodies, e.g. they use them for drinking water for themselves and their livestock, for crop irrigation, and for fishing as a source of food or recreation. Therefore, engaging citizens in monitoring their local water bodies can provide them with the knowledge and information to take an active role in preserving water quality at community level, and at national and regional level by providing additional data and information that can support policy and management. Despite significant progress and increased prevalence of citizen science projects for water management, mixed results are still observed. A large question is whether data acquired via CS programs can be of substantial enough quality to serve different purposes from regulatory surveillance to operational decision-making. For CS to be useful, rigor as well as data-validation tools need to be incorporated. Elements of participant social identity (e.g., their motivation for participation), and contextual knowledge (e.g., of the research program itself) can shape participation and resulting data outcomes). As such, the success of the data collection is not solely dependent on the technology, but also on the recruiting strategy and program structure. The aim of the hereby proposed session is to explore technological and institutional success factors to guide the development of decentralized water quality monitoring programs that engage citizens.

Convened by José Monge Castro, a student in the University of Oxford’s MSc Water Science, Policy and Management programme, OWN Co-chair Dr. Saskia Nowicki, and Javier Mateo-Sagasta from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

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Good Luck with your exams – WSPM 2021-2022 Cohort

Despite the fact that the year has started in the pandemic, and the Michaelmas and Hilary terms are passed, the Trinity term exam season is approaching. Since 2004, students from all over the world have taken the master’s degree examination in Water Science, Policy, and Management (WSPM) every spring/summer.

We understand that studying for examinations might be difficult at this time. As a WSPM alumnus, I recall the stressful moments of revising for the three exams: Water Science, Water and Society, and Water Management. It was challenging and required hard work to go through old questions and brainstorm to answer and frame the arguments by using previous exam sheets, compiling case studies to support the arguments, and structuring the exam essays within the given time frame. But, in the end, we were able to complete the exams successfully. Remember to take a deep breath and believe in yourself, as many alumni have done before you. We all have faith in you.

We wish you the best of luck for the exam week.

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Welcome to WSPM 2021-2022 Cohort

Although the year has begun in the pandemic and the COVID-19 is still current, we are excited to welcome the new batch of students with strong enthusiasm for water, whether in person or online! Every autumn since 2004, a new group of students from around the world has arrived at the University of Oxford to pursue a master’s degree in Water Science, Policy, and Management (WSPM). Dr Kevin Grecksch, Course Director, and Dr Katrina Charles, WSPM Academic Lead, are especially looking forward to this cohort’s Induction on the week (0) of the Michaelmas Term.

This year’s class is the largest in the WSPM’s history, with a total of 29 students. These students hail from 19 different countries and have a variety of backgrounds, with some having recently completed their undergraduate studies and others returning to academia after working for a while. They have already visited Farmoor on the 1st of October as part of the course. They come from various sectoral backgrounds, enriching discussions and fitting perfectly with this interdisciplinary course, cross-cutting themes in economics, climate and catchment processes, governance, water quality, water and health, and water policy and management. This year-long MSc course enables students to develop a theoretically sophisticated and empirically grounded understanding of sustainable water management. Including this group, almost 400+ students have enrolled in WSPM since it began in 2004.

2019 marked the 15th anniversary of the programme, and to celebrate; an Anniversary Fund was created to help WSPM students pursue overseas work for their dissertations.

We cannot wait to see the WSPM 2021-2022 cohort’s Oxford Journey. Welcome to Oxford!