SYSTEMS, SCIENCE & SOCIETY
Annual Newsletter: Spring 2013
Dear WSSS Alumni, Faculty, Students, and Colleagues, Introduction 3 Where in the World? 4
A spotlight on the research of the 2010 2013 WSSS Fellowship recipients
2013 WSSS Practica 6
Students from the Middle East and Mystic River Practica share their experiences
WSSS in Pictures 8 TIE Talks: Water and 10 Agriculture
Tufts faculty and guest lecture presentations
Welcome to the third annual newsletter of the Tufts interdisciplinary graduate education and research program in Water: Systems, Science and Society (WSSS). WSSS is soaring! The WSSS program began in 2004 with an enrollment of 15 students. Over the past four years WSSS enrollments have been steady, averaging about 46 students each year, with representation from six different schools. Referring to WSSS, in his inaugural address in October 2011, new Tufts President Anthony Monaco said, “only a university could assemble the range of expertise required to address water resources worldwide.” We couldn’t have said it better. There are so many exciting initiatives and changes underway that it would be impossible to discuss them all here (but we’ll try). To begin, we are particularly excited about the two WSSS practicum projects this year, one in our own Mystic River watershed and the other in Palestine. Seven students and three WSSS faculty will be traveling to Palestine in May. Closer to home, a team of students led by Richard Vogel, Rusty Russell, and WSSS Ph.D. student Jeff Walker, is collaborating with the Mystic River Watershed Association on stormwater issues. We anticipate at least one journal publication from this collaboration, making it as much a research project as a practicum. Given the complexity of water challenges, we believe that mixing applied and fundamental research is a good thing. Thank you for your continued support and engagement in WSSS! WSSS Steering Committee
Richard Vogel (Director), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Water Diplomacy and U.S. 11 Water Partnership
Tim Griffin, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Events and Communications 12 A look at this year’s WSSS activities
Rusty Russell, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Feeding Ourselves Thirsty 14 The fourth annual WSSS Symposium addresses the future of water and food production
A special WSSS event co-hosted by the Aidekman Gallery Cover Photo: Malden River Practicum by Monica Mejia Water: Systems, Science and Society
Newsletter production and design Theresa Silver Copy editing Emily Geosling Map Theresa Silver Contributing writers Caroline Incledon, Devyn Powell, Joshua Peters, Jennifer Bogle, Emily Geosling, Theresa Silver Photos Rusty Russell, Monica Mejia, Darius Izadpanah, Emily Geosling, Theresa Silver Annual Newsletter: Spring 2013
Adam Weinberg Stream Flow Depletion in Beaver Brook and the Impact of Implementing Sustainable Yield Guidelines (Massachusetts. USA)
Claudio Deola Epidemiology of Water-related Diseases in the Context of Rapid and Massive Urban Displacement (Ethiopia)
Ana Rosner Detecting the Power of Climate Trends: A New Decision Tree Methodology to Assess Risks and Costs of Adapting to an Uncertain Future (Massachusetts. USA)
Sitara (Gogi) Grewal Assessing the Short-Term Impact of School-Based Safe Water Points on Childhood Diarrheal Disease and School Attendance in Somali Region (Ethiopia)
Stephanie Galaitsis Estimating Domestic Water Demand in the West Bank, Palestine: Transforming Understanding About Domestic Water Use from Basic Needs to Increasing Resilience (Palestine)
Eric Vaughan Long Term Agricultural Planning in a Non-Stationary World: Accounting for Future Changes in Demographics, Land-Use and Hydrology through a Generalized Water Allocation Model (Palestine)
Lauren Cole Building the Framework for a Pilot Study of Urine Diversion Systems in Falmouth (Massachusetts. USA)
Margaret Kurth Simulation-Based Game Development for Experiential Learning in Water Management Systems (Massachusetts. USA) Jeff Cegan Deadly Tradeoffs: Optimizing Evacuation Times for Coastal Communities (Massachusetts. USA) Jeffrey Bate The Value of Information: Applying Energy Smart Grid Concepts to Small-scale Water Resource Management and Planning (Massachusetts. USA)
Kazakhstan New Jersey, USA
Laura Kuhl A Comparative Study of Adaptation to Coastal Flooding and Sea Level Rise in Boston and La Ceiba (Massachusetts, USA & Honduras)
Massachusetts, USA Virginia, USA
Palestine Egypt Ghana
Laos India Vietnam Sri Lanka
(Jennifer) Yaning Shen An Economic Assessment of Water and Energy Tradeoffs in Rice Production of Developing Nations in Asia, Using a Generalized Allocation Model (Laos, China, & USA) Kate Olson Hydropower, Equity and Water Governance: A Case Study (Laos)
Lauren Caputo/Jack Melcher Use of SUSTAIN as a Decision Support System for Stormwater Management Planning (Virginia, USA)
WSSS Fellowships John Parker Building Resilience to Food and Water Scarcity in Social-Ecological Agro-Ecosystems through the Diffusion of Water Management Innovations: A Case Study of the Quesungual Slash-and-Mulch Agroforestry System (Honduras & Nicaragua)
Lesley Pories Good Governance at the Intersection of Water and Climate Change Policy: Can Third Parties Prevent Lake Balkhash from Becoming Another Aral Sea Disaster? (Kazakhstan & China)
Sarah Coleman Strengthening Agroforestry Projects & Impact Assessment in Huehuetenango (Guatemala)
Noah Cohen-Cline Impact of Hydroelectric Dams on Indigenous Language Retention: A Case Study at Chixoy Dam (Paraguay)
Water: Systems, Science and Society
Gabrielle String A Post-Implementation Assessment of Clean Water Programs (Ecuador)
2010 Karen Kosinski Diagnostic Test Accuracy and Spatial Heterogeneity of Urinary Schistosomiasis in the Eastern Region (Ghana)
Ellen Tyler/Amanda Beal By Land and By Sea: Global Links Among Artisan and Small-Scale Food Producers (Uruguay & Sri Lanka)
Annual Newsletter: Spring 2013
Yuan Wang Studying the Impact of Climate Change on Water Conflicts through Transboundary and Domestic Water Conflict Case Studies (Vietnam, Egypt, & Australia)
Andrea Brown Relation Between the Seasonality of Cryptosporidiosis Outbreaks and Physiochemical Soil Properties (India)
Negin Ashoori Water Consumption Patterns and Enteric Infection Transmission: A Case Study in Vellore (India)
Mystic River Practicum
Continued Focus on Clean Water
By Jennifer Bogle The purpose of the 2013 WSSS Palestine Practicum was to build capacity at the Lajee Center, a communitybased organization in Aida Refugee Camp in the West Bank, and to work with members of the community in addressing water quality issues. Graduate students in the WSSS program traveled to Aida Camp in March 2013 to identify community concerns and resources at Lajee, to determine how best to build awareness of water quality issues, and to encourage residents to work with Lajee toward finding solutions.
New Visions for a Local Waterway
students directed their efforts to establish a water testing and outreach program at Lajee, which will offer technical support and community engagement opportunities.
Water quantity and quality are significant issues in Aida Camp. Piped water in the governorate is delivered to households on an inconsistent basis, and as a result, residents must store water for long periods of time in large plastic or metal tanks, which increases the likelihood of contamination and associated illness.
The program will support residents in improving water quality through continued testing, and by providing point-of-use interventions. Aida residents are able to contact Lajee to report suspected contamination, request additional water quality testing, and receive appropriate technical support. The WSSS team assessed a number of point-of-use interventions, including chlorine bleach, chlorine tablets, flocculant powders, solar disinfection, filtration, and boiling. Based on social acceptability, cost, and accessibility, the team has recommended the use of chlorine tablets as the primary intervention for Aida residents.
To help address this problem, a team of WSSS students worked with Lajee in 2012 to develop a water quality monitoring program to better measure the communityâ€™s water quality. The testing program has shown that bacterial contamination (total coliform and Escherichia coli or E. coli) is present in many homes within the camp.
The students also looked at ways Lajee can engage with the community on water issues by reviewing modes of disseminating information and looking at school curricula for opportunities for Lajee to complement water education. The WSSS students prepared informational brochures and learning modules that cover a range of topics, including proper use of interventions, and the sources of contamination in drinking water.
As part of the 2013 project, a new group of WSSS students continued testing for contamination, completed 41 household surveys, and organized several workshops at Lajee to generate ideas for how Lajee can work with camp residents on water quality issues. Based on survey results and discussions with Lajee, the WSSS
The final product was a plan for Lajee that outlines strategic steps to establish and implement the water program. The team has also been raising funds to hire staff and equip Lajee with necessary testing equipment, point-of-use interventions, and outreach material to sustain activities for at least the next year.
Water: Systems, Science and Society
By Joshua Peters The WSSS Practicum Team of Spring 2013 partnered with the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) to lend support in a campaign to re-envision the Malden River, a small tributary to the Mystic River which forms municipal boundaries for the communities of Everett, Malden, and Medford. A handful of challenges surround the river, including complex legal issues, questions of public safety, and access. The Malden River flows approximately 1.5 miles from where it daylights in downtown Malden until its confluence with the Mystic River.
review included the Los Angeles River of California, Mill Creek of Ohio, and the Spicket River of Massachusetts. These case studies were distilled into an easily digestible format for use in public meetings, where they could offer insight into achieving success in similar efforts for the Malden River. A toolkit comprised of strong audio-visual components was then created, including recorded interviews and an alteration of a previous Malden River film. The interviews engaged area residents in a candid manner, in order to better understand and document public perceptions of the river.
The area has a long history of industrial activity that includes tire manufacturing, tanneries, sites previously These recorded interviews were later compressed occupied by General Electric and Monsanto, and many into a single audio track to be distributed to local more.
These operations, coupled with an overwhelming radio stations, generating further community interest presence of stormwater outfalls, have resulted in in this re-envisionment campaign for the Malden a broad array of contaminants found in the sediment River. within and along the banks of the river. The kit was rounded out with a series of maps, A nascent community group is forming around the posters, pamphlets, and flyers designed to support idea of re-envisioning what the Malden River can public engagement and education, which were then be. The Practicum Team found its place in this story widely distributed at public meetings and on the by creating a virtual toolkit to equip volunteers MyRWA website, www.mysticriver.org. and resident leadership with an assortment of informational materials for use in a campaign The work of the Spring 2013 Practicum Team toward this new vision. culminated in a new website of its own, showcasing the many deliverables that were developed The first step was a literature review that identified throughout the semester, which can be found at successful urban river revitalization endeavors. The www.maldenriver.wordpress.com.
Annual Newsletter: Spring 2013
Wsss In Pictures
WSSS Aida Camp Palestinian Practicum The Fourth Annual WSSS Symposium
WSSS Malden River Practicum
Water: Systems, Science and Society
Annual Newsletter: Spring 2013
Tie Talks: Water and Agriculture By Caroline Incledon and Devyn Powell TIE Talks offer a place for environmentally focused Tufts students, faculty, and staff to gather together and discuss environmental issues in a casual setting. The theme for this year’s TIE Talk series was “Water and Agriculture,” and speakers included professors, academics, and alumni from many different departments and schools at Tufts. Marisol Pierce-Quinonez (G’12, F’12) began the series in October with a discussion of the difficulties and possibilities in planning for a more sustainable local food system. Highlighting the need for coalition building and web-based collaboration tools, Ms. PierceQuinonez spoke of Food System Assessments as a tool for community visioning, and the importance of redeveloping water use and conservation approaches for sustainable agriculture.
Tim Griffin, an Associate Professor and Program Director of Agriculture, Food, and Environment at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, discussed farming and national policies that govern its environmental impact in “Cash Cow? How Agricultural
of the Friedman School’s Agriculture, Food, and Environment program discussed his work examining the demand for water supply services by the citizens of informal settlements in Queretaro, Mexico. These citizens lack access to an adequate water supply, and Professor Cash’s recent research was one of the first studies in Mexico to demonstrate that poorest residents are often most willing to make sacrifices for clean water. April’s TIE Talk featured a tea tasting, as ethnobotanist and NIH Training in Education and Critical Research Skills (TEACRS) post-doctoral Tufts fellow Selena Ahmed discussed the impact of climate change on the taste of our favorite plant foods and beverages, using tea as a case study. Dr. Ahmed’s research includes field surveys
in the Yunan Province of China, and analyses of phytochemicals in tea from Professor Colin Orians’ biology lab. Her results depict the association of tea production and biodiversity -- including water supply and quality. Dr. Ahmed is further exploring the implications of climate effects on food plants for livelihoods and well-being. Rebecca Pearl-Martinez and Kim Foltz, who jointly taught the Experimental College course “Rising Tide: Climate Change, Vulnerability, and Adaptation,” finished off the spring TIE Talks in May, with a presentation titled “The Human Face of Climate Change.” Their talk focused on the vulnerabilities of different communities both locally and globally due to the many impacts of our changing climate.
Water Diplomacy and U.S. Water Partnership Policies Affect Farms’ Environmental Impacts.” Environmental damage from grazing livestock has become a significant issue, both in the United States and around the globe, and Professor Griffin analyzed conservation investments to mitigate the degradation of water quality on grasslands through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). The spring semester kicked off with a talk by Dr. Mary Shultz, whose work in chemistry focuses on improving water sanitation to further the cause of global health. Dr. Shultz spoke of challenges in water decontamination and potential chemical solutions to the problem. Through the application of nonlinear spectroscopy to reactions and interactions on the surface of the photocatalyst Ti02, she has been able to enhance its efficiency, and believes it can be used as a more environmentally-friendly means of cleaning water in the future. In a March talk titled, “Who Values Clean Water More: the Rich or the Poor?” Professor Sean Cash
Water: Systems, Science and Society
The Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Water Diplomacy program, now in its second year at Tufts, provides students with a flexible curriculum within which to create an individualized educational path from their chosen major to a working knowledge of water science and systems, along with the necessary skills to negotiate water conflicts. In October 2012, the program welcomed a Program Coordinator -- Sarah Coleman -- herself a WSSS alumna. The 10 IGERT students and the Coordinator all have office space in the TIE offices and are active with the WSSS and TIE programs in addition to the specialized Water Diplomacy curriculum. Tufts Water Diplomacy faculty members, William Moomaw and Dr. Shafiqul Islam, spoke this year as featured guests of the WBGH Innovation Hub radio program on the topic of current and emerging challenges to meeting worldwide water requirements in the 21st century. Addressing the constraints of our planet’s diminishing water supplies due to increased contamination, they highlighted the need for global strategies that lead to more efficient use of water for irrigation in a changing climate. Annual Newsletter: Spring 2013
Tufts Institute of the Environment became a member of the USWP on June 20th, 2012 at the global unveiling of the partnership at the Rio+20 conference. Over the past year as a member, we have attended meetings and workshops with likeminded water professionals from the public and private sectors. While TIE is the official member, we were solicited to join on the merits of the WSSS program as an academic model for integrated water education and research. Sarah Coleman, Water Diplomacy IGERT coordinator, David Gute, Professor in Engineering, and Emily Geosling, TIE/WSSS coordinator, attended the first annual partners meeting on March 22nd, 2013 for World Water Day, where we started planning for a new initiative on water security. While this partnership incubates project initiatives, it also serves as a vital conduit for outreach and conveying important water announcements among members.
Events and Communications Throughout the year, WSSS sponsors special seminars in addition to weekly meetings in the Fall and research, practicum, or symposium group meetings in the Spring. 140 Years of Water Quality in the United Kingdom: Water supply, climate, and land use change: What have we learned?
August 9, 2012
Dr. Nicholas Howden, Senior Lecturer in Water (Associate Professor), Queen’s School of Engineering University of Bristol, U.K. Dr. Howden’s research focuses on providing a better understanding of how climate, land-use, and land management affect the quantity and quality of surface and ground water, with a particular interest in the transport of nitrate from agricultural watersheds.
Boston Campus Seminar: Jeff Boston Campus seminar on International Public Health Griffiths & Rose Yu, of Tufts September 21, 2012 and Tufts Program with Cholera in Haiti. Medical School
Slater Gallery Opening and Fall Kick-off Event In September 2012 at the start of the academic year, WSSS and TIE sponsored an exhibit entitled “Water Research in Action: Building Bridges over Troubled Water” at Tufts Art Gallery’s Slater Concourse. The images in this exhibition have been captured by WSSS students and faculty in the field, illustrating the individual and collective experiences that arise from WSSS research. Many of the photographs, shot in developing countries where water is obtained not through a household faucet, but rather through days of work and waiting, suggest the scope and severity of the world’s water problems. At the same time, these photographs show the important steps that Tufts students and faculty are taking to amend these problems: monitoring storm water run-off, modeling
water-borne disease vectors, interviewing inhabitants of water-conflict regions, and testing novel engineering solutions in water supply. Using such methods, these researchers are actively advancing innovative projects to improve our world’s perilous -- yet solveable -- water resource issues. Through WSSS, students learn to think in deep and fluid ways about the composition, acquisition, and movement of water resources. Through their fieldwork, dissertations, theses, experiential practicum groups, community engagement projects, and--later-their careers, WSSSers are true global change-makers, expanding water knowledge for myriad applications. The collection of more than 30 photos illustrated this human component behind water research.
With in-kind support from TIE, the WSSS program can produce a number of outreach materials including weekly announcement digests -- called “Droplets” -- that include local water events, funding opportunities, job and internship opportunities, and calls for abstracts and other academic conference announcements. WSSS is also featured prominently in the TIE social media sphere -- including Twitter and Facebook -- and has its own LinkedIn group for current students and alumni to exchange ideas and info. The TIE Communications Specialist also manages the Tufts Environmental Alumni group relationship, publications, and external communications. Water: Systems, Science and Society
Nicholas C. Matalas: “Three Concepts: Uncertainty, Nonstationarity, and Sustainability & Their Implications on Water Resources Planning & Management”
Dr. Matalas received his doctorate in civil engineering from Harvard in 1958 and worked in hydrologic research for the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) for nearly 40 years. His research activities ranged from the vulnerability of water systems to climate September 27, 2012 assessing change to developing a geophysically based ordering of the world’s salt water islands. He has published more than 100 papers in professional journals, and has won many awards, including the U.S. Department of Interior’s Distinguished Award.
Lecture on Water and Human Rights: “Australia and ‘The Big Dry’: Beyond Discourses of Drought and Farmer Suicide”
December 7, 2012
Dr. Lia Bryant is a sociologist at the University of South Australia. Her research has focused on social relations in rural communities and on particular questions of belonging, wellbeing, and equity. Her most recent projects are on farmer suicide and government-imposed water allocations and their impact on social inclusion.
Institutional Research Board Seminar with Martin LaVigne
February 1, 2013
For R-track students using human subjects in their research design, IRB is a mandatory legal process for all Tufts research.
Interviewing & Collaborating for Research with Libby Mahaffy
February 15, 2013
Principles of Grantsmanship with Amy Gantt
March 1, 2013
For R-track students to prepare proposals and fellowship applications, including WSSS Fellowship proposals (due March 14th).
Film Screening: “Mekong Citizen”
March 29, 2013
A documentary film examining the impact of hydropower development along China’s Mekong Waterway, followed by a Q&A session with Michael Victor from the CGIAR Challenge program on Water and Food.
April 5, 2013
Feeding Ourselves Thirsty: The Future of Water and Food Production (see pages 14-15 for details).
May 10, 2013
A casual social celebration held in combination with the Tufts Institute of the Environment.
Annual Newsletter: Spring 2013
For R-track students using interviews, focus groups, or NGO partners in their research design.
Fourth Annual WSSS Symposium:
Feeding Ourselves Thirsty
By Theresa Silver This year’s fourth annual studentorganized WSSS interdisciplinary water symposium took place on April 5, 2013, and focused on the nexus of water and food security in “Feeding Ourselves Thirsty: The Future of Water and Food Production.” Topics of discussion included climate change, water availability, water rights and the economics of water allocation, water pollution, public health, natural resource management, and collaboration. A joint effort between Tufts WSSS program students and the Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the event reached beyond the academic domain to include speakers and attendees from public, private, and non-governmental sectors of both the greater Boston area and from across the nation. Three groups of panelists, including several Tufts faculty members, shared a variety of perspectives from their work in both developed and developing countries, and offered many valuable insights on a wide range of water-related concerns. The first panel discussed approaches for mitigating water contamination due to agricultural production in the United States. Describing agriculture as both a leading consumer and polluter of freshwater, panelists outlined effective practices and policies for reducing harm to human health and aquatic ecosystems. The second group addressed food and water demand conflicts, and the increasing competition for
resources presented by worldwide population growth and climate change. Several speakers noted the importance of societal adaptation and accountability in the face of rapid environmental changes, citing the need for greater alignment between our political and scientific institutions as a primary component in avoiding crisis.
Keynote speaker, Roberto Lenton, closed the program with reflections on water productivity, and its capacity to balance food and water security dimensions.
WSSS Symposium Speakers Roberto Lenton University of Nebraska Craig Cox Environmental Working Group Wayne Castonguay Ipswich River Watershed Association Peter Kleinman USDA, Agricultural Research Service Jonathan Todd John Todd Ecological Designs, Inc. Gregory C. Watson MA Department of Agricultural Resources Tim Griffin Tufts University John Briscoe Harvard University Muthoni Muriu Oxfam America Peter Walker Feinstein International Center Timothy Wise Global Development and Environment Institute David Zilberman University of California, Berkeley William Moomaw Tufts University Ujjayant Chakravorty Tufts University Danielle Nierenberg Food Tank: The Food Think Tank Christian Peters Tufts University Kenneth Strzepek Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sean Cash Tufts University The third, and final, panel spoke on the topic of sustainable water resource management. They highlighted the interconnected roles of economic policy, institutional innovation, and technological development in maximizing the
Water: Systems, Science and Society
Second-place winner, Simon Choong of MIT, along with fellow students Philip Reiser, Matthew Mannarino, and Greg Rutledge, presented Permeability of Electrospun Mats Under Pressure Driven Flow, an assessment of the use of electrospun mats as a method of water filtration.
equity and efficiency of water consumption, in addition to the collaborative and interdisciplinary work of programs such as WSSS.
in order to solve the numerous and diverse water resource issues we face. Students were also invited to submit posters for a demonstration session to complement the symposium. There were 27 entries presented, and three top-prize winners were selected for a cash reward.
In third place, Tufts’ Anna Murray, in partnership with Dr. Daniele Lantagne, demonstrated Accuracy and Usability of Free Chlorine Residual Testing Methods, a study evaluating commercially available water chlorination residue testing kits. The outcome of the study has applications for researchers working to reduce diarrheal illness.
Francesca Cecinati, in combination with Fidele Bingwa and Yan Ma, also of MIT, received the first-place prize with Precipitation Based Flood Early Warning System in the Manafwa River Basin for the Uganda Red Cross Society. The project represents the first stage in a longterm goal of developing forecasting and early warning systems for precipitation-based flood events in Eastern Uganda, which are an ongoing crisis affecting the lives and property of roughly 45,000 people.
Defining security as the point “when everyone, everywhere, has access to enough safe water and nutritious food for a healthy, active life,” he stressed the need to think across multiple scales, from the level of each farm up to that of our nations,
Annual Newsletter: Spring 2013
Droplets Droplets: Short Presentations About Water was a WSSS event held in November that was co-sponsored by the Aidekman Art Gallery. Throughout eight brief presentations given by Tufts undergraduate and graduate students, audience members learned about a range of water-related topics in just two hours. Some students shared personal experiences; Haley Enyey and David Sokoler spoke about the whitewater rafting community at Tufts, while Stephanie Galaitsis and Jessica Morrison chronicled their studies on water access issues in the West Bank.
Other students focused on the importance of media in water issues. Angelina Zhou informed viewers on marketing tactics used in the water bottle industry, and Laura Read discussed a new technological tool for mapping water projects in developing countries.
Many presentations also showcased the artistic talent of Tufts University, thanks to the Tufts New Music Ensemble and music student Linda Backe, who presented their own interpretations of the sound of water.
Water: Systems, Science and Society Program at Tufts University 210 Packard Ave | Medford, MA 02155 | (617) 627-5522 | http://www.tufts.edu/water