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WaTER Center


Congratulations to the winner of the University of Oklahoma International Water Prize! 

Join us Sept. 16-17, 2019 for the OU International WaTER Conference in Norman, Oklahoma.  



The 2017 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize Winner

The 5th University of Oklahoma International Water Prize recipient was announced at the WaTER Center Symposium held the evening of Sept. 22, 2016 in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom at the Oklahoma Memorial Union on the Norman campus.

Eric Stowe, CEO of SPLASH, was chosen as the fifth prize recipient and was awarded the prestigious University of Oklahoma International Water Prize at the 2017 OU International WaTER Conference Sept. 18-19, 2017. Eric gave the plenary address at the conference banquet, which was held at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.


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View previous issues of WaTER Drops on our News & Events page.

Saving the world one drop at a time

The WaTER (Water Technologies for Emerging Regions) Center at the University of Oklahoma is bringing together researchers and advocates from around the world to focus on the life-sustaining resource, clean water. The center reports that more children die each year due to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene than AIDS and malaria. This is not due to water scarcity, but rather poverty, inequality and government failures.

Water and Sanitation for Health and Sustainable Development Minor

Learn about the New WaTER Minor!

The WaTER Minor is designed for engineering and non-engineering majors who have an interest in development work in emerging regions, particularly the sectors of water, sanitation and health.

Want to learn more?

An introductory course on the significance of water in our world, Water, H2O, and WaTER (PDF), is offered to interested students.



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This website offers you the opportunity to learn about upcoming WaTER events, local and international WaTER initiatives and how you can contribute to solving the world water crisis.

2019 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize Winner

Congratulations to the winner of the 2019 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize, Martha Gebeyehu of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Commission.

Martha will deliver the plenary address at the 2019 OU International WaTER Conference to be held Sept. 16-17.

SAVE THE DATE - 2019 OU International WaTER Conference

The 2019 OU International WaTER Conference will be held in Norman, Oklahoma on September 16-17, with post-conference workshops being held September 18-19.

The International WaTER Conference banquet and University of Oklahoma International Water Prize Award Ceremony will be held Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

WaTER Minor Appeals to Students Who Want to Make a Difference

WaTER Minor students in Uganda

The new minor offered by the OU WaTER Center to undergraduates help students broaden their world view through hands-on experience in developing countries.  Read about this life changing program from this front page article in this recent edition of the online Oklahoman.

Click here to learn more about the WaTER Minor.

WaTER Center Director Receives Award

David Sabatini in Cambodia

The Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) selected Dr. David Sabatini, director of the WaTER Center, to receive the 2016 Steven K. Dentel AEESP Award for Global Outreach. Read more in this article in the Norman Transcript.



Nudge Handwashing Project Wins First Place

Nudge Handwashing unit; Dreibelbis/Save the Children work

First place in the Civil Society Innovation Award at the WASH Futures Conference in Brisbane, Australia was awarded to a handwashing project designed and implemented by Save the Children, WaTER Center Assistant Director Dr. Robert Dreibelbis at the the University of Oklahoma, and the University at Buffalo, This project makes use of nudges - environmental cues that spark quick, unconscious decision-making, by connecting latrines to handwashing stations via paved pathways painted with bright colors, footprints and handprints, subtly guiding students to a handwashing station. The feasibility for nudge-based interventions was assessed in a pilot in 2014 of nudges in two schools in rural Bangladesh, showing an overall increase of 64% in handwashing among primary school students after a toileting event. The nudge path concept is currently under further study in a cluster-randomized trial to assess the longer term sustainability of the intervention as well as the behavioral impact of nudges compared to a traditional education-focused handwashing and hygiene promotion program, the results of which will be available in the fall of 2016.

Water Security - Quantity, Quality, Equity

directors with the 2015 Water Prize winner

The WaTER Center directors joined their thoughts and expertise on water security to produce a feature article for the January 2016 addition of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) journal Water Resources IMPACT. Click here to read their contribution to the journal. (pdf)


Professor's clean water vision offering hope at Tar Creek Superfund Site

Bob Nairn at Tar Creek - News 6 photo

The water cleanup work of Dr. Robert Nairn, Associate Director of the WaTER Center, is being highlighted by the news media.  Engineers with the University of Oklahoma's School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science have found a solution to clean the contaminated water flowing right into Tar Creek.  To learn more, read on...


Public Forums on Water Reuse to be held in Norman

Water photo from Water Reuse flyer

Water reuse in Oklahoma is the topic for three upcoming educational outreach forums open to the public at no cost.  The meetings are designed to inform the public and to allow people to provide input for Oklahoma‚Äôs future water resource planning. 

The no cost public forums are scheduled from 6-8:30 p.m. on April 23, May 14 and June 18 at the National Weather Center, 100 David L. Boren Blvd., in Norman, OK.

Please register at for planning purposes.

For more information and to view the entire agenda (pdf), click here.


Sooners Without Borders Travel to El Salvador

Sooners Without Borders Thanksgiving trip 2013

Thanksgiving break for most students means spending time with family and food.  But a group of OU students used their holiday break for service.  They headed more than 2,100 miles away to Central America.  Read on...


Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe - Her Humanitarian Quest

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe with Chelsea Clinton

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, friend of the WaTER Center and one of Time Magazines most influential people of 2014, is travelling the globe speaking for those who cannot.  Please read on to learn more about this amazing woman.

Submit your poster and/or oral presentation abstractfor the OU International WaTER Conference.

Presentation Guidelines


Sun, Sep 15
Opening Reception

Mon, Sep 16
Presentations and networking all day

Tue, Sep 17
Presentations, networking and Prize Winner banquet

Wed, Sep 18
Short courses (2)

Online Deadline: Sept. 11.

Did you know

  • Approximately one SIXTH of the world's population lacks access to safe water
  • 2.6 billion people lack access to improved sanitation
  • On average a child dies every 15 seconds because of lack of safe water and adequate sanitation
  • 88 percent of all diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene
  • The average American individual uses 100 to 176 gallons of water at home each day while the average African family uses about 5 gallons per day

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