Berkeley Goes to Beijing to Continue Collaboration and Attend World Water Day 2016 Conference

A delegation of researchers affiliated with the Berkeley Water Center was invited to participate in a day-long conference in Beijing, China, as part of an ongoing research collaboration with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) and to mark 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 (Environmental Science Policy and Management and Public Health). The conference was hosted by the National Center for Rural Water Supply Technical Guidance (NCRWSTG), which is headed by Director Tao Yong, and is part of the China CDC; 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. The conference, as well as other meetings during the week, also provided an opportunity for the Berkeley and China CDC researchers to continue discussions started when China CDC delegates attended the 2015 "Water and Health" conference in Berkeley.

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 disinfection by boiling in open pots versus boiling in electric kettles. (This last theme is part of the ongoing collaboration and past research between Berkeley and the CCDC). 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.

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