International OU WaTER Symposium

International OU WaTER Symposium

International WaTER Symposium to be held September 21, 2021 - Save the Date!

Save the Date! - The seventh OU International WaTER Symposium will be held on  Tuesday evening, September 21, 2021,  in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom of the University of Oklahoma. The primary purpose of the Symposium is to select and announce the next winner of the OU International Water Prize.

During the few days prior to the Symposium, a group of five distinguished jurors will each nominate an individual who is making a real difference in the hydrology, water security, and WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene) sectors, especially for communities in need. After much discussion and some debate, these jurors will complete their deliberations, select a Prize winner, and announce the Prize winner at the Symposium event. In the evening's program, they will also share some of their own research and experiences in the field through short presentations and a panel discussion on pertinent water issues of our day.

Dr. David Sabatini addresses the Prize Banquet
at the 2019 International Water Conference


Martha Gebeyehu, 2019 Prize winner, is seen here
with family and friends on the night of the 2019 banquet



The Prize winner will come to campus next year (2022) for the International Water Conference, where she/he will give the Keynote Address and accept their Prize at the formal Banquet. This Prize is believed to be the first and largest prize dedicated to water supply, water resources, and/or sanitation in emerging regions.

Below is a brief introduction of this year's Prize jurors:



Ana Barros (University of Illinois - Dean of Civil Engineering)


Ana has interests in hydrology, hydrometeorology and environmental physics with a focus on water-cycle processes in the coupled land-atmosphere-biosphere system, particularly in regions of complex terrain. Dr. Barros has expertise in the critical area of water security and environmental sustainability, with emphasis on the study of water cycle processes taking place in the land-atmosphere-biosphere system. 



Upmana Lall (Columbia University)


Dr. Lall is the Director of the Columbia Water Center and Editor-in-Chief of  Water Security  journal. He also leads the Global Water Sustainability Initiative which addresses global water scarcity and risk. The Global Flood Initiative is motivated by the need to predict, mitigate and manage floods at a global scale while recognizing climate drivers and supply chain impacts.


Merrell-Ann Phare (Phare Law Corporation, International Joint Commission)

Merrell-Ann is a Canadian lawyer with specialties in water rights and water law. She serves on the International Joint Commission (U.S. and Canada – Boundary Waters agreement, 1909). She is a lawyer, writer, strategist, negotiator and relationship-builder who has worked extensively in and with indigenous organizations on environmental, land, water, rights and governance issues. She has authored or co-authored two books on water ethics and the water rights of First Nations.



Aondover Tarhule (Illinois State University)


Dr. Tarhule has studied the impact of climate change on crop yields in the Niger River basin, the effects of particulate air pollution on public health in Burkina Faso, and the usage of satellite data to improve the water security index for regions in Africa. His work on the impacts of climate change on water scarcity and security has been featured in  National Geographic  and  Nature .




Callist Tindimugaya (Uganda - Ministry of Water and Environment)


Dr. Tindimugaya's career has focused on groundwater protection and management in Africa. He has published articles in journals of hydrogeology which describe the importance of groundwater resources in the threats of urbanization, industrial development, agricultural and mining activities, and poor sanitation practices.



We look forward to welcoming these jurors to our lovely OU campus in the Fall!


More detailed information on ways to participate in the Symposium will be coming later this summer.